Nike Features Female Middle Eastern Athletes In Empowering New Ad

"What will they say about you?"

A new ad from Nike Middle East highlights female athletes from the region running, boxing, and playing soccer in a powerful statement about the strength of women in a part of the world that is considered by many to be one of the most restrictive in terms of equal rights. 

Posted on its Twitter account, the ad opens with a woman adjusting her hijab before a morning run while others look on disapprovingly. "What will they say about you?" the voiceover asks. "That you shouldn't be out here? That it's unladylike?"

According to Emirates Woman, the video was filmed near Dubai and features five professional athletes from the Middle East, including Emirati parkour trainer Amal Murad and figure skater Zahra Lari, who have previously appeared in regional ads for Nike.

"This phrase, it's every little girl's nightmare growing up," Murad told Emirates Woman. "We hear this every time we do something that might be met with criticism. There's a fear to stand out and do something that's not part of the norm. But I've learned that, if you genuinely want to do something amazing, you can't be afraid of hearing this phrase."

While not every comment on the video was positive, the Nike ad is part of a growing trend of Middle Eastern women breaking cultural boundaries through sports and defining what it means to be "ladylike" in their own terms.

(H/T: Mashable)

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