After contemplating the start of this article for about 15 minutes, I decided to go with a disclaimer – a short explanation to everyone who decides to get pissed if it doesn't comply with their opinion. Here we go: this is NOT a news story, NOT a report of any kind. This is an opinion piece, meaning it presents the views of the writer (hey!) alone and, hopefully, invites a civilized discussion rather than "omg here we go again, feminazi, bitch," etc.
Now that we have that out of the way, let's begin.
This story was inspired by adidas' new "Calling All Creators" campaign unveiled on December 20. Featuring a hella-well produced video, it shows 25 biggest names in sports and pop culture today sitting at one table and discussing the importance of breaking the rules, changing the game, making a statement and all the other popular buzzwords.
The issue? Uhmm... women, obviously.
Whoa, whoa, I know, what the hell is the matter with me?! There's clearly women in the video, some of them even talk. But watch it a couple of times and tell me it doesn't feel a bit like a fratty get-together because that's exactly the feeling I got and let me explain why.
adidas managed to get 25 – twenty-five!!! – top influencers, from Kristaps Porzingis and Lionel Messi to Pharrell Williams, Pusha T and Alexander Wang. On that list, only six are women.
Let them speak
Around the table, we see decorated athletes Garbiñe Muguruza, Candace Parker, Lindsey Horan, Paige Tapp, Chiney Ogwumike, and, somewhat of a black sheep, model and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss. Already giving off that "token" vibe, they're also barely given the chance to talk – while the men mansplain how "creativity is everything in today's game," here's the only lines spoken by the ladies:
- "Those with the need..." – Candace Parker
- "...will never be the same" – Chiney Ogwumike finishing off Derrick Rose's statement
- "...gender..." – Lindsey Horan
- "It's all intertwined, fashion inspires music..." & "Pull up a chair" – Karlie Kloss
- "Let's change sport" – Garbiñe Muguruza.
That's literally not even five seconds of the minute-long video. And Paige Tapp only gets to laugh on camera. I'm sorry to say this but, dear adidas, you've failed women with this campaign.
To be fair, I'm not trying to say adidas had to feature 50/50 men and women. I'm not even saying it had to feature women at all – that would've sent a different type of message, of course, but at least it wouldn't have felt so incredibly undermining and tokenized.
Sure, the problem of female under-representation is bigger than adidas itself, but that's what makes campaigns like this one so painful to watch and accept.
Not even touching on politics, where women are still majorly outnumbered, the issue is rooted in creative and entertainment industries as well. According to blogger and data scientist Amber Thomas, only 27% of words were spoken by female characters in 2016's 1o highest-grossing films. Another study looking at 1,000 movies created over several decades found that women took part in 15,000 dialogues, whereas men had 37,000.
Continuing reports on the lack of women leaders in creative industries such as advertising, architecture, design and even fashion have been calling to end this so-called "economic and social travesty."
All in all, I guess what I'm trying to say is...
It's kind of laughable when major brands like adidas coin catchy slogans such as "Calling all Creators" but do not, for whatever reason, equally represent all of those creators. It feels just as dumb and fake as ZARA calling to "love your curves" and featuring skinny models in the shot. But those are my two cents, what do you think about it?