Do trans women need sports bras? Nike ad causes backlash: “It’s a male takeover.”


Nike‘s decision to hire trans woman influencer Dylan Mulvaney for a sports bra advertisement has been attacked by a number of female athletes as a misogynic move and a sad mockery of biological women. In the tennis world, Martina Navratilova, a member of the LGBTQ community herself, is traditionally most vocal about the limitations that should be imposed on trans athletes to keep the competition fair and she expressed her disagreement with the new Nike campaign.


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A post shared by Dylan Mulvaney (@dylanmulvaney)

Followed by 1.8 million people on Instagram, Mulvaney tagged “Nike Women” and promoted the brand by wearing black leggings and a white sports bra. According to Daily Mail, the 26-year-old Mulvaney could be paid up to $150,000 per social media post.

“I guess Nike couldn’t find a female athlete to sell sports bras…” tennis legend Navratilova wrote on Twitter and added a shoulder shrug emoji. “Getting paid for it at the exclusion of females who actually need one.”

A lot of other women in sports raised their voices against this choice by Nike. College swimming champion Riley Gaines considers that Nike sends a message that men can do everything better (she was later attacked by trans activists for her women’s sports speech), while Olympic gold medal swimmer Nancy Hogshead claims that women earn just one percent of the money spent by sports brand on advertising and that this paid partnership had robbed the opportunity from so many phenomenal and hard-working, biological women, adding that it’s “a male takeover.”

A lot of people attacked Navratilova on Twitter for not being inclusive, but her response is: “Sure. Next Dylan will be promoting tampons…”


  1. Absolutely ridiculous. This is the same clown that Bud Light beer is using to “promote” their product. Good on you Martina!

  2. This is so fraught. I can see why women athletes may think it is unfair if trans women are allowed to compete as women. It all gets very technical in terms of their stages of development and whether they have an advantage over people who were born women. While I don’t care about how people want to live their lives or what clothes they wear or which bathroom they want to use, it seems like the trans women want everyone to pretend that they are not trans and are exactly the same as biological women, but the reality is that they aren’t, and sport is one of the areas where this may be an issue. I also think it is a bit strange to have someone who doesn’t really seem to have any breasts promoting a sports bra. Although the ad looks pretty, you can’t really see what level of support it would offer to someone with more up top. I guess Nike is trying to be inclusive but this is a time when it doesn’t seem appropriate.

  3. Well said, CLT- I agree, people should live as they choose. Transphobia is deeply concerning, and everyone should be able to live their lives free of harm and violence. However, dylan mulvaney is co-opting what it means to be a woman- what, have long hair, put on some make up, throw on a sports bra and bam, you’re a woman? How is this different from a fetish? I agree, Nike is trying to be ‘inclusive’ here- but essentially, their inclusion involves a former white male. How inclusive is that? Dylan already has a massive platform, he certainly didn’t another leg-up from Nike.

  4. “Martina Navratilova, a member of the LGBTQ community herself”-This isn’t accurate anymore. She’s a member of the LGB community, she’s tweeted that several times she supports the LBG movement and you can’t support both.

  5. Hoping to dispel a bit of misinformation here: I’ve obliquely heard of Dylan Mulvaney and can’t really comment on her situation, but trans women who take hormone replacement therapy experience breast growth and undergo a change in sensitivity to fabrics, so yes, they do require sports bras when doing exercise to prevent scuffing with rough fabrics like us cis women do. I honestly wish people would know a bit more about these things before being so confidently aggressive and incorrect – it reminds me of every single time a man has questioned why I wear a sports bra when running as a snide remark on my breast size. It’s been gross every time and it’s disheartening to see people use trans people to indulge their base misogyny when it hurts every single one of us.


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