Some great intellectual minds have recently panned this commercial as a return to that riotgrrrl / “post-feminism” trope that never seems to quite die. The basic sentiment going around is: “Look – Maria’s a great tennis player and Nike just had to go and focus on her prettiness. As if no matter how gifted you are, as long as you’re female, you have to still make sure you’re beautiful.”
I think that’s crazy! The people looking at Maria in this commercial are clearly the ones focused on her prettiness, not her. She doesn’t say a word while they a) judge her as shallow and obsessed with her looks and b) assume she has nothing more to offer than a pretty face. Instead, she bides her time then simply walks onto the court, does her thing, and silences them instantly with her first stroke. All along SHE knows that it’s not about prettiness – and within the first few seconds of the game she makes sure everyone else knows it too.
The commercial actually reminds me of the opening scene from Natural Born Killers. Juliette Lewis is in a bar and everyone’s leering at her. Then she guns them down and asks one of them, “Think I’m sexy now, motherfucker?” Maria’s work on the court is basically the same question, and “Think I’m pretty now, motherfucker?” is hardly powderpuff “empowerment”.
And yes, Raveo, I guess I should go post this one on my secret blog too.