This is a Nike advertisement from a few years back. When I first saw it I was honestly inspired; the commercial’s tagline “What’s your excuse?” really made me feel like I my lack of initiative was the reason I didn’t make the JV basketball team. But after reading Longmore’s work, in particular Chapter 7 “Screening Stereotypes”, I look at Nike’s attempt to motivate it’s athletic customers to be active and determined from a completely new perspective.
I find that the commercial conveys the message that the success or failure of a person with a disability is a direct result of the choices, confidences, and pluck of the disabled individual. Nike is clearly banking of the idea that if a disabled person has an unyielding positive attitude and diligent attributes they can undoubtedly become successful. If this guy can make it to the gym and practice, there is no reason why a fully functional normal couch potato Adidas wearing dude like yourself can’t.
The commercial perpetuates the stereotype of the “successful handicap”; who is the one who can emotionally cope and overlook limitations, and that their achievement is a model of personal adjustment for all disabled people. Granted Nike is just trying to sell exercise gear, but the video reflects our culture of stigmatization that the disabled can overcome adversity through mere self-adjustment and courage.