“In 1995 – NIKE Women created an amazing TV spot that struck a nerve with a lot of young athletes. The spot was written by Janet Champ. Check it out on YouTube.
From the mouth of young girls, the copy read:
- “If you let me play sports, I will like myself more;
I will have more self-confidence,
- I will be 60 percent less likely to get breast cancer;
- If you let me play sports, I will suffer less depression.
I will be more likely to leave a man who beats me.
- If you let me play sports, I will be less likely to get pregnant before I want to
I will learn what it means to be strong.
If you let me play sports.”
Athletes everywhere were fired up. I know I was.
But Nike wasn’t the first in recognizing the advent of the woman athlete: More than a century and a half ago, Walt Whitman predicted the coming of a race of “fierce and athletic girls”
- who “are not one jot less than I am,/
- They are tann’d in the face by shining suns and blowing winds,/
- Their flesh has the old divine suppleness and strength,/
- They know how to swim, row, ride, wrestle, shoot, run, strike, retreat, advance, resist, defend themselves,/
- They are ultimate in their own right — they are calm, clear, well-possess’d of themselves.”
Let’s work hard to continue to develop “firece and athletic girls” so that we can eradicate sexual assault – the most disgusting of ways to exert power and control over women.