New campaign calls for end to ’empowerment ads,’ asks to be labeled ‘athletes’ not ‘female athletes’

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HARTFORD — A new campaign is calling for the end of “empowerment” ads for women and says the term “athletes” should refer to all athletes, people shouldn’t specify between “female athletes.”

WNBA stars and sisters Chiney Ogwumike of the Connecticut Sun and Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks, star in a new NCAA commercial that hits back at “empowerment” advertising. They say women and girls do not need “empowerment ads,” to show that they can be strong and accomplished athletes; they just are.

The new campaign, called “Done” points out that women have been succeeding in their own right all along and want to be known as “athletes,” not “female athletes.”

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor and Olympic gold medal swimmer Natalie Coughlin-Hall are also part of the campaign.

“I felt compelled and honored to be a part of such a powerful PSA,” Chiney Ogwumike said. “Participating as an athlete in the NCAA accounts for so much of our early career accomplishments; of which breaking stigmas associated with being a female athlete, we consider a major milestone and, hopefully, the being of a revolution.”

The ad campaign was written in response to the recent trend of “empowerment” ads that build up girls and women, but often start by making them seem weak, a statement from the “Done” campaign said.

“The flip side of an ad that says ‘women do anything’ is that you’re saying you believed they couldn’t,” says Alyssa Georg, senior art director at SS+K, an ad agency working with the campaign. “We’re pointing out that women have already reached the top of sports.”