Nike’s Da Da Ding ad featuring Indian sportswomen and Deepika Padukone is creating a lot of buzz on social media and international media alike.
BBC has done a story on the Da Da Ding” ad with the headline ‘India ad sparks debate on recognizing sportswomen’. BBC is not alone in raising this question, most of the social media users are asking same question. Social Media users are slamming Indian people for recognizing only Bollywood star Deepika Padukone and not the female athletes who represent India. Even avid sports watchers could not go beyond recognizing 2 or 3 sportswomen who represent India. Some even blamed Indians patriarchal mindset for not recognizing female athletes.
These allegations are right up to some extent but are wrong for more than one reason. If Nike’s Da Da Ding ad would have put male athletes from different sports other than cricket, Indians would have hardly recognized them too. May be, they will recognize a Sardar Singh or a PR Sreejesh from hockey, a Sunil Chhetri from football, but beyond that they will only recognize achievers like Vijendra Singh, Sushil Kumar, Leander Paes etc.
Same is the case with Nike ad, if Nike ad would have featured Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal, or Mary Kom people would have certainly recognized them. Indians do have patriarchal mindset, Indian girl do face discrimination but giving these as reasons for not recognizing Indian female athlete in Nike’s Da Da Ding is just exaggeration.It’s not the gender that is facing discrimination but sports that faces discrimination in India and it’s gender neutral. India is still not a sporting country and to expect them to recognize every player who represent India would be idiotic. Let the BBC ask who is SV Sunil and Indians would not recognize him without asking google. We have to go long way before Indians start recognizing people who represent India in sports. It’s better to enjoy this ad and appreciate Nike for putting Indian sportswomen on front than wasting energy on unnecessary controversy.