In the hopes of predicting the college basketball champion, over 18 million NCAA Tournament brackets were filled out this year. Even more people have tuned in for a game, and everyone you know is now a die hard Gonzaga fan (we see you). It’s easy to see why it’s called March Madness.

I’ll admit, I’m not much of a basketball fan but I do love some good competition and college sports always delivers a Cinderella story or a buzzer beater, so alas, I watch. This past weekend friends and I posted up in my apartment to see which teams would be heading to the Final Four. Two games and many, many chips and dips later, what caught my attention most was not the underdog victories, but a :30 second commercial.

We’ve all seen the women’s empowerment ads before. Montages of fierce little girls playing sports, ladies of all sizes posing confidently in front of the camera, these ads act as inspiration to us women. They act as a reminder that we are beautiful, that we are capable, and that we are powerful. But ladies, don’t we already know that? Do we not already live those truths day to day?

So why do we still need commercials to remind the world that we are all of these things and more? That’s the exact question the NCAA is pressing in their commercial, ‘Done’. Take a look:


Star athletes like Nneka Ogwumike, Chiney Ogwumike, Misty May Treanor and Natalie Coughlin Hall are “over it.” and so are we! We’ll admit it, we’re suckers for an empowerment campaign but we see the NCAA’s point. Genders don’t play sports, athletes do. Do we constantly need to be reassured women hustle as hard as men? 

We will never stand our ground at the top if we, as women, keep comparing ourselves to a standard that isn’t ours, but society’s. It’ s not about competing on a field that was established for men. This is about us channeling our strengths and talents to set new standards on the field, the court, or in life, that was always ours. We are just as feminine as we are strong, competitive, and skilled. We know who we are, so let’s run with that. As women (athletes or otherwise), our performance speaks for itself. And if that performance is what is setting the standard, then we surpassed the need to advertise it a long time ago.

NCAA, thank you for defending that.

By Liz Ladley