Successful Middle Eastern women, including three from the UAE who are challenging stereotypes, are the focus of a short video released by Nike and filmed in Dubai.
Titled “What Will They Say About You?”, the one-minute clip in Arabic with English sub-titles features Emiratis Amal Murad (parkour coach) and Zahra Lari (figure skater) and Saudi-Emirati pop singer Balquees Fathi, among others. It raises a common question many young Arab females are asked when they try something unexpected or something that pushes the boundaries of what’s “normal”.
“This phrase, it’s every little girl’s nightmare growing up,” says Murad. “We hear this every time we do something that might be met with criticism. There’s a fear to stand out and do something that’s not part of the norm. But I’ve learned that, if you genuinely want to do something amazing, you can’t be afraid of hearing this phrase. Don’t be afraid of your own greatness.”
The Nike campaign aims to highlight Arab women who have achieved personal success through competitive and amateur sport to become role models and strong voices for women in the region.
“Through Nike’s work with athletes in the Middle East, we’ve been incredibly inspired by the pioneering spirit that exists here,” says Nike spokesperson Hind Rasheed. “In the region, it’s possible to be ‘the first’ or ‘the only’ to try a sport or to achieve global success. These stories are an inspiration to us at Nike, and we wanted to share them with others, hoping they’ll inspire more women to overcome doubt and seek empowerment through sport.”
The film also includes Tunisian fencer and Olympic medallist Ines Boubakri and Jordanian boxer Arifa Bseiso.