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Professor Haili Vinson

ENC 1102

23 September 2012

                                   “His and Hers” Nike® Shoes

       Over the past six decades, women in America have begun to fully embrace the feminist

movement for the equal rights that were once denied to them by the strict gender boundaries

created by our society. Although it seems like we have come a long way, the media and pop

culture continue to support the old traditional gender roles that women worked so hard to

dissolve. Nike’s® 2012 “My Time is Now” advertisement is one of many that has

misrepresented gender by presenting only males in order to achieve the ideal image of a

powerful athlete. In the process of analyzing this advertisement, it becomes evident that

Nike’s® advertisement has contributed to the stereotypes of gender, which are ratified by the

traditional beliefs of society and reinforced by the values endorsed by today’s pop culture.     By

leaving out women from the advertisement, Nike® disregards the fact that women serve as

equally powerful and successful athletic figures in today’s world.

       The lens of gender applied to the twenty-first century in comparison to advertisements

from the twentieth century should demonstrate a significant change in the alleged roles for

women; however, it is still evident that the media continues to limit women to the domestic

sphere. Companies continue to put women in domestic product advertisements and exclude

them from advertisements in the areas of fitness and sports. It is no longer accurate to limit

women to the traditional gender stereotype in which the woman’s sole responsibility is to fulfill

household duties as the man succeeds and dominates in every other aspect of life. Women from

all around the world have proven themselves in athletics; they compete in international sports

leagues and represent their countries in the Olympics right alongside men. If women are

showing the same successes in the athletic field as men, why are they still pictured as less

powerful than men in today’s society? Professor Sharon Mavin presents this concept that society

associates leadership with men; they “explicitly ‘message’ the leader role as a non-role for

women, and/or, which question women’s suitability for a leader role” (1). Traditional viewpoints

associate the male with dominance and the female with submissiveness. Although many people

value this concept, it fails to acknowledge the modern roles that many men and women have

begun to adopt. It is necessary that the gender barriers be removed from advertising such as this

Nike® advertisement so that we may move forward in creating a true image of equality between

men and women as leaders in different fields such as athletics.

       Another reason these gender stereotypes are still present is because the media and pop

culture continue to support and popularize them. The existence of these traditional roles is

understandable, but the promotion of them is a whole different concept. Gender excluding

advertisements and traditional gender role embracing television shows are main contributors to

our society’s acceptance of this gender stereotype. The Bachelor and Wife Swap are two well-

known shows that have a negative impact on our culture. The Bachelor is a show where women

are explicitly judged on their looks and capability to be successful in the domestic sphere

(Klewin 18). Wife Swap similarly judges women on their capabilities in the home. Wife Swap

goes even further as to promote judgment. Essentially, this process plots the mothers against one

another and forces them to criticize how well the other mother can maintain a proper household.

In other words, they are looking down upon women that do not fit the “cookie cutter” image of

the ideal mother. These shows are both examples of how the media manipulates situations on

television to subtly disgrace untraditional women that step outside of the accepted boundaries of

society (Klewin 18). Even though Nike® does not directly endorse the traditional stereotypes of

women like The Bachelor and Wife Swap, they are still encouraging this faulty concept that men

stand superior to women by excluding women from the advertisement. This treatment is unfair

to women, and it is vital that our advertisements and television shows begin to properly represent

all women.

       In conclusion, Nike’s® “My Time is Now” advertisement adds to the stigma pop culture

places on women. Women have proven themselves to be just as successful as men in a multitude

of fields, and excluding them from advertisements only further endorses the outdated idea that

men remain more powerful than women. As advertisements continue to neglect to picture

women in positions of strength and leadership, they inadvertently restrict the image of power to

men. The media needs to reconsider their methods of promoting the pre-existing stereotypes so

that women may break away from the traditional gender roles that society forces upon them.

Nike® can make an effort to help by beginning to include powerful women athletes in their

advertisements as well as men. We have come a long way on gender specific issues, and now it

is time for the media and pop culture to show it.

                                            Works Cited

Klewin, Erin Victoria. "Living Happily Ever After? : The Reinforcement of Stereotypical Gender Roles

       on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette." Thesis. Ed. William E. Stanwood. Boston College,

       2007. Print.

Marvin, Sharon. "Gender Stereotypes and Assumptions: Popular Culture Constructions of Women

       Leaders." Thesis. Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, UK, 2009. Web. 26 Sept.


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