This Australian netball ad is stirring up controversy because it looks a little like domestic violence

An advertising campaign for the ANZ Netball Championship has attracted controversy because one image featuring a sports injury is interpreted by some as domestic violence.

The ad follows the viral “like a girl” campaign by Procter & Gamble last year, which wanted to upend the pejorative connotations in the phrase.

As the netballers show off their prowess, like girls, it ends with the bloodshot and heavily bruised eye of one player, with the tagline “Play like a girl”.

Channel 9 sports reporter and Sportette founder, Sam Squiers has concerns, as she explains on her blog post:

“The image shown, the look on her face, the music used instantly reminds me of a domestic violence campaign.

“I have a problem when I see this image. It doesn’t sell women’s sports as tough at all. There are other ways of conveying that message without this confronting image.

“Images of blood, bruises, black eyes and beatings have flooded many men’s sports’ advertisements for years. But the same model of promotion doesn’t necessarily transfer over to the women’s game.”

Basically Squiers argues that the ad reflects “violence not toughness”, and violence in sport, whether it be men’s sports or women’s, should not be used at as a point of advertising.

Here’s what the ad looks like.

It starts with the slogan: Run…

Like a girl.


Like a girl.


Like a girl.

But the last image has people talking.

Play like a girl.

Diamonds player Sharni Layton sports a bruised eye sustained during a netball camp.

She was reportedly offered makeup to cover the bruising, but declined in order to show people the real netball.

She also posted a photo of the image on her Facebook page and Twitter account.

See the full ad for yourself.

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