Name Game

Area blogger Sarah Rain wrote recently:

The local youth softball outfit is called the Bethlehem Tomboys. This bothers me but I can’t quite articulate why.

It could bother her because it’s an interesting example of how society’s always been conflicted over the place where femininity meets athleticism. They came up with the name Tomboys when it was OK to suggest that a girl playing softball was boyish. Today? Not so much. You’d never get away with naming them that in 2008, not in these days when teams like the Warriors and Indians are getting hard to find. This was not a problem where I grew up. We were -and remain- the Carle Place Frogs.

For all the damage the ad world has done in terms of how we view women and the way they view themselves, Nike deserves credit for breaking stereotypes. Their advertising is full of strong women who are anything but “tomboys.” My favorite example is this 2006 spot that features Maria Sharapova on her way to play at the U.S. Open. It’s not just an ad, but a biting piece of satire —and maybe the best use of music in any commercial ever. Plus the casting and directing is brilliant. Here’s a link to a clean version if you can’t stand the crummy YouTube embed…



5 responses to “Name Game

  1. Experienced Cynic

    I’ll take Serena Williams, thank you, but they may have actually made a commercial that’s not completely and totally asinine.


    Hey, John McEnroe singing show tunes. Can’t be all bad.

  2. Interesting that they made her pretty and witty and bright, rather than gay.

  3. That really brings this conversation full circle, doesn’t it?

  4. Also interesting that they left out the end of the song: ” ’cause I’m loved by a wonderful boy.”

  5. Fabulous video…really! I admit that I wear wide-width “Easy Spirit” footwear (my Facebook would be older than yours Rob) but Nike puts on a “kick butt” ad campaign.

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