Nike Ads Positive Portrayal of Woman By Sasha Sanders

It is remarkable to realize the amount of advertisements one consumer can be exposed to in a single day.  The sad thing about this is the majority of these ads have a subliminally harmful effect on consumers—especially women. Most people find it almost impossible to name an advertisement that positively influences women, but people must not realize that NIKE ads seem to always make sure to portray and influence women in a positive aspect.

Sex is predominantly the image that advertisers seem to portray. Women are usually half-clothed, and some of the ads don’t even make sense with the product it was trying to sell. However when it comes to the Nike Women campaign, I feel that these ads are very empowering for women. The most recent ads pick a part of the body that women typically hate, and the ad tells an empowering story about that body part. For example, the ad titled“Thunder Thighs”does not show any picture other than a picture of the body area being described. The ad reads,“I have Thunder Thighs and that’s a compliment because they are strong and toned and muscular, and though they are unwelcome in the petite section, they are cheered on in marathons.  Fifty years from now I’ll bounce a grandchild on my thunder thighs and then I’ll go out for a run”( This ad is very empowering for women because not only is this ad addressing the issue of larger thighs in the present, but in the future as well.

This Nike ad was part of a serious of similar ads in 2005 that were considered to be“real women”ads. Along with the thunder“I Have Thunder Thighs”ad came the“My Legs Were Once Two Hairy Sticks”,“My Knees are Tomboys”,“My Shoulders Aren’t Dainty”,“My Butt is Big”, and the“My Hips Return to Puberty” ads. Just by looking at the name of these ads you can already picture the type of message that they send out. For example, the ad about knees reads,“My knees are tomboys, they get bruised and cut every time I play soccer. I’m proud of them, and wear my dresses short. My mother worries I wont marry with knees like that, but I know there’s someone out there, who will say to me, I love you and I love your knees; I want the four of us to grow old together”( This ad proved to be particularly inspiring to me because growing up I was considered to be a“tom boy”, and I always thought that I would never look pretty enough to wear dresses and skirts, and I felt like my athletic quality made me unattractive, and nonetheless unimportant. This ad applies to women, and young girls, and the common stereotype that mothers are concerned with whether or not their daughters get married, and it tells women not to be insecure about their physical features because the person of their dreams will love their “tom boy”knees.

Maybe its because I’m not the thinnest woman, but this campaign is right on. I think it’s wonderful that Nike has ads that praise athleticism, talented performance and disciplined bodies as well, but most of the people that I see shopping in Foot Locker for new sneakers, un-toned butts, but often have imperfect thighs, and barely defined abs and pecs. I call this campaign “reality advertising”.



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