Dream Crazier

Gender roles are a societal standard that people of all ages and circumstances feel the need to conform to. Both the Nike – Dream Crazier Ad and His Heart’s Desire represent contradictions to the gender archetypes presented in the keyword essay on gender in similarly non-normative ways. Both Andy and the female athletes represented in the Nike advertisement are “performing” their genders in ways that stray from the understood norms of how males and females should act. The difference here, is that while the women in the ad are empowered by this embodiment, Andy feels the need to suppress his nonconforming acts.

The Nike Ad focuses on female athletes in particular, and how they have historically been subjected to more scrutiny than their male counterparts. They are expected to not show too much emotion, not stand up for themselves, and certainly not to compete against men. All these things and more, women have been called “crazy” for. The women in this ad are performing their gender in ways that are characteristically “masculine,” and therefore are criticized for it. This struggle for women to disassociate with traditional gender roles has persisted over time, as noted in the keyword essay.

In His Heart’s Desire, Andy, a young boy enjoys playing with dolls, but feels the need to hide this pastime because it doesn’t fit with the socially constructed gender norms for boys’ play. He is forced to perform the gender roles that he believes fit with his own gender, as arbitrary as these roles may be. His playing with dolls could be coined as “crazy” in the same way that Serena Williams’ grand slam wins were, but unlike Serena Williams, Andy chooses to hide his passion.

In the Nike Ad, the important point is made that many things are considered unusual and sometimes even crazy until one person challenges the norm. The woman who ran the first marathon was almost pulled off the course by race officials, but she paved the way for many women to come. Perhaps if Andy had embraced his heart’s desire to engage in doll play, he could have changed the gender norm around that in a similar way as women in sports have. Overall, both Andy and the female athletes faced internal and external pressures to perform their idealized gender roles and conform to societal expectations.

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