• Tue, Aug 14 2012

Nike Calls Female Olympians ‘Gold Digging,’ Is Asshole

When you think of a gold digger, what springs to mind? Some wily lady, maybe, who hangs out at hotel bars wearing a skimpy black dress and sitting seductively cross-legged waiting for her next 50-year-old divorced target to come marching into the bar all unassuming and rich?

Me too. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I support a woman’s right to marry for money (no, I really do). I support a woman’s right to marry for any reason she wants. Or not marry for any reason she wants. What the fuck. I don’t care.

But I digress…

What I don’t think of when I hear the phrase “gold digger” is the following: female Olympians, who train their entire lives to become peak athletic specimens — peaker ‘n you are — and suffer and sacrifice all with the hope of scoring a few moments during which they can prove that they are the absolute motherfucking best at their sport in the world.

Nope. Wouldn’t call them gold diggers.

But Nike would! And indeed, Nike did. The international purveyor of sportswear, who should know what it means to be an athlete as well as anyone, released a shirt for women that reads: “Gold Digging.” The description over at Nordstrom reads: “Cheer on the Olympic team’s medal quest in a fitted tee screened with a gilded logo.”

GET IT?! Cause they’re trying to win a gold medal. It’s supposed to be funny, but like Daniel Tosh’s rape joke, it isn’t. it’s not that jokes about female athletes can’t be made, it’s that if they are going to be made, they should make us laugh. Not want to punch a corporation in its face.

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  • Colleen

    Or, possibly, (and I say possibly because I’m not in the mind of the ad exec who pitched the idea) -

    The use of gold diggING rather than gold diggER suggests the actual hard work and leabor that goes into obtaining gold from the Earth. I live in Alaska, and we have a huge history of gold rush days and it was basically forced down our throats as children. Gold mining is incredibly hard work and often, after you complete the work you have very little to show for it.

    Likewise, athletes work extremely hard with no guarantee that they will be rewarded with the gold they so desperately and diligently worked for.

    Just another perspective. Like I said, the -ING rather than the -ER makes me think it’s not intended as a sexist commentary.

    • Nancy

      I think if that was the case they would’ve said ‘Digging for Gold’ or something, I think this is a pretty clear double entendre. You definitely wouldn’t read that shirt and first think ‘Oh, a double entendre playing on winning gold in the olympics and mining for gold!’

    • Colleen

      “You definitely wouldn’t read that shirt and first think ‘Oh, a double entendre playing on winning gold in the olympics and mining for gold!’”

      Uhm, actually, that’s exactly what I thought. Hence my response. My first thought when seeing the shirt was not a woman who preys on older men for their money. It was someone working hard to reach a goal. The semantics of the phrasing was a clear influence on me.

      And as I’ve said, I don’t know what the original intent of the ad exec was, but even if it was to be a double entendre, I don’t think it’s offensive.

    • Jenny

      Colleen – I agree. I fail to see how this is offensive. I think it’s a pretty clever slogan.

      If anything, it plays on the fact that the traditional meaning of “gold digging” is bad, while this is quite the opposite.