Not tough enough. Not fast enough. Not strong enough. These are just a few of the stereotypes about female athletes Adidas is dispelling through its Fearless AF campaign. The newly released video, featuring six powerhouse runners catching speed as a male announcer lists their perceived “womanly shortcomings,” is stirring a new conversation surrounding female athletes.
“We’re past the point of empowering women. Women are already empowered,” said Alexa Andersen, Adidas’ category director for women’s running, in a press release. “This campaign is about celebrating real women who tackle challenges head-on, defy conventions, express themselves and fuel creativity in the name of sport.”
Featured in the video are ultramarathoner and Peloton VP of fitness programming Robin Arzon, supermodel and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss, OG Boston Marathon woman runner Katherine Switzer, three-time New York City Marathon women’s champion Mary Keitany, Girls Run NYC founder Jessie Zapo and three-time Olympic distance runner Jen Rhines.
In addition to starring in the campaign video, the powerful crew ran last Sunday’s New York City Marathon — with Switzer appearing 50 years after being attacked mid-race in 1967 for daring, as a woman, to run the Boston Marathon. Fearless AF pays homage to the famous moment by including images of the attack and showcasing a powerful black-and-white of Switzer unfazed as men in suits grab at her.
“I was so certain, even at 20 in the first Boston Marathon, that other women would love to run if they only had the opportunity to try,” Switzer told Refinery29. “Now I am seeing that running is totally transformational for women — what we’ve done is created a social revolution, well beyond running itself, that has changed their lives quite fundamentally.”
Ultramarathoner Arzon agrees with Switzer’s message interpretation: “Fearless AF means feeling the fear and doing it anyway — leaning into the knowledge that you’ve survived 100 percent of your worst days, and a community of women is cheering you on,” she told Health.
Per the video’s “announcer” (and many others that fall on preconceived notions of what strength looks like): “Femininity is about appearing small and vulnerable.” For its vision, Adidas has a different definition: Bold. Creative. Determined. Boss. Fearless.
What Do YOU Think?
Are you a fan of the new campaign? Are there any badass ladies in your life you were reminded of watching this video? Do you believe that brands like Adidas are helping break stereotypes surrounding women athletes? Let us know in the comments section.