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Dear Oscars Academy, Please Create a Special Category for This Powerful Nike Ad That Ran During the Show

This weekend’s Oscars had a lot of big moments. Some were great, some were Green Book. But this Nike ad that ran during a commercial break was definitely one of the night’s best moments, despite not being a part of the ceremony itself.

The ad, which is narrated by Serena Williams, takes on the insulting and pervasive attitude that when women show emotion, they’re “crazy.”

“If we show emotion,” Williams says, “we’re called dramatic. If we want to play against men, we’re nuts. And if we dream of equal opportunity, delusional. When we stand for something, we’re unhinged. When we’re too good, there’s something wrong with us. And if we get angry, we’re hysterical, irrational, or just being crazy.”

This voiceover is played over clips of female athletes and coaches who have elicited those labels–women crying and showing anger or even just, you know, existing. It then gives us more women that have definitely been called crazy and other unoriginal, sexist pejoratives. “A woman running a marathon was ‘crazy.’ A woman boxing was crazy. A woman dunking? Crazy. Coaching an NBA team–crazy. A woman competing in a hijab, changing her sport, landing a double cork 1080, or winning 23 Grand Slams, having a baby, and then coming back for more,” Williams says, referencing her own “crazy” behavior. “Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy, and crazy.”

“So if they want to call you crazy? Fine,” the ad says. “Show them what crazy can do.”

It makes sense that Nike chose to air this ad during the Oscars, where gender equality and equality of opportunity have been at the forefront of recent discussions. There were some exciting wins for women last night–including Ruth Carter for Black Panther‘s costume design and Domee Shi and Becky Neiman-Cobb for Bao–but for the most part, women were excluded from major gender-neutral categories. The categories of Directing, Cinematography, Film Editing, and Score (just to name a few) included only men. Both Adapted Screenplay and Original Screenplay included one female nominee each, and both were part of a team with a male counterpart.

Change is happening but it’s not coming from just sitting by and waiting. Women are showing the world “what crazy can do” and the results speak for themselves.

(image: YouTube)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.