Athletics are a interwoven part of the majority of societies in our world. In many cases, they can be a common platform for vastly and distinctly different backgrounds to unite for the sake of competition.
Bringing the responsibilities surrounding these unique lifestyles together can be tricky though. Nike is learning this first hand, as they announced last week that they will be releasing a hijab with their logo on the side sometime next year.
It’s creation came from the special interest of hijab-wearing athletes, who have gone to extensive lengths in order to be allowed to compete while wearing one at all. For one, former competitive weight lifter Amna Al Haddad has been a vocal advocate for the release. She took to Instagram to explain the reasoning behind her support.
“From my perspective as a former athlete who competed in Hijab, in the past, the big brands didn’t see the need or market for it as it was not “popular” and it was unheard of to see women train, exercise and compete in hijab,” her caption reads. “It is a recent phenomenon where more women have expressed a need for it and more professional athletes have fought for rights to compete with a headscarf, and have an equal playing field. We made it big in the news, we couldn’t be ignored.”
Al Haddad goes on to state that Nike is not the first brand to release such an item either, adding that they have been available with a limited selection for “a few years now.”
“I support Muslim women with or without hijab, and how they dress is their choice. And with the Nike Sports Hijab, it surely will encourage a new generation of athletes to pursue sports professionally, and without us athletes who fought for this right and made it happen, Nike wouldn’t ‘just do it.”‘
Her advocacy hasn’t stopped the internet from attacking Nike for the launch. Much of what has been posted to social media bases around the brand profiting from the degradation and subjugation of women. It has even escalated to the point of urging the public to boycott the item upon it’s expected release next year.
In such a short time, Nike has garnered plenty of negative attention from their product announcement. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that this could affect it’s potential release, whether delaying or canceling it all together.