New Nike campaign featuring female athletes from across the Middle East and North Africa urges women in the region to defy the social norms that are standing in their way to greatness.
What will people say?
This dreadful question has been an obstacle to women and their progress in whatever field they’re in for years, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. It's quite fitting then, that sportswear giant Nike’s new campaign has that question at its core, and how it has impeded the progress of the region's female athletes throughout their careers.
Featuring a number of celebrated female athletes from across the region, the campaign video will give you goosebumps and leave you inspired. hand selected by Nike for the video were Parkour Trainer Amal Mourad, boxer Arifa Bseiso, fencer Inès Boubakri, singer Balqees Fathi, and figure skater Zahra Lari, showcasing their mad skills in their respective sports.
The video highlights the cultural aversion to women athletes in the Middle East, it starts off with Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari gliding on her skateboard down a street, in spite of piercing looks of judgemental disbelief from people on the street, and ends with a memory of a young Lari taking her first steps on the ice in her tiny skates, defying the cultural norms that stood in her way.
Made up of brilliantly composed close-ups of all the athletes in fast action, the video is narrated by Saudi artist Fatima El Banawi who asks in a subtle lamentation: “What will they say about you? That you’re not supposed to be here, that this is not for you. Or they might say that you’re strong, that no one can stop you, that you’ll always find a way, that you’re serious, that you have impressed them. And maybe they’ll say that you’re something big!”
“I’ve had a lot of criticism throughout my journey, but I never let that stop me or bring me down,” Lari tells Vogue Arabia. “People should know that Emirati athletes are strong.”
The video embodies a more millennial outlook on women’s rights, and denotes a departure from traditional Middle Eastern views on the matter.
“There’s a fear to stand out and do something that’s not part of the norm… Don’t be afraid of your own greatness,” Emirati Parkour athlete, Amal Murad tells Vogue Arabia.
The profundity of the video speaks for itself and successfully touches upon one of the core issues that the MENA region has and continues to face, the subjugation of women.
Watch the video below: