“Can you be an athlete? You, pregnant? You, a mother? That depends,” the short film titled “Toughest Athletes,” begins. Posted on Nike Women’s Instagram page on March 14, the ad goes on to define the term as it cuts between a group of mothers in various stages of pregnancy and postpartum journeys, including Serena Williams and Olympia, USWNT soccer player Alex Morgan, and track stars Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Perri Shakes-Drayton, Nia Ali, and Bianca Williams.
“What is an athlete? Someone who moves? Sounds like you,” the narrator continues. “Someone who gets it done, no matter what? You do that. Someone who listens to her body. Also you. Someone who defies gravity. You. Someone who deals with the pain, hits her limit, and pushes past it. Pushing, pushing, pushing. Someone who earns every single win. You, you, you. So, can you be an athlete? If you aren’t, no one is.”
The ad features the Nike maternity line, Nike (M), which first launched in September 2020. “Motherhood looks different for everyone,” the caption of the video reads. “But no matter what you do or how you do it, you are the toughest athlete.”
Another powerful ad featuring breastfeeding aired during the Golden Globes on February 28. While Nike highlighted the highs of motherhood, the ad by postpartum company Frida Mom aimed to depict the “emotional and physical journey” that comes with new motherhood.
“Am I bad mom if I stop now?” one woman asks, while the other scolds herself. “Good moms should know how to do this.” Throughout the spot, both women wrestling with lactation, latching, raw nipples, and deeply rooted society expectations that leave women feeling inadequate.
Both ads feature important messages for mothers, be it one of empowerment or one of empathy and acceptance. Hopefully, this is just the start.