Serena Williams Catsuit Controversy: How Insignificant The Matter Should Be
The tennis champion Serena Williams is recently a topic of discussion everywhere. And unfortunately, it has nothing to do with her iconic performance against Magda Linette. But rather it was her outfit for the day that sole attention.
Serena Williams’ Catsuit Controversy
Apparently, Serena Williams returned to the courts back in May for the first time after giving birth. The athlete decided to wear a black Nike catsuit that was just more than an outfit. It had a more significant and powerful meaning attached to it. While talking to the press, Serena Williams said that the outfit made her feel like a warrior princess. Or else, a queen from Wakanda- the fictional African nation from Black Panther. She even added that this was her way of being a superhero.
Serena Williams hoped that her outfit would inspire a lot many mothers who experience health difficulties like her when they gave birth. She said that all women go through a lot mentally and physically to come back to their body shape and have confidence to believe in themselves. The tennis champion even posted a picture of herself wearing the catsuit on Instagram. And wrote that it was for all the moms out there who had tough recoveries from pregnancy. If she could do it, they could do it as well.
Serena Williams also shared that her catsuit was suitable for her health. She had been wearing pants a lot. But this catsuit was fun and functional as it kept the blood circulation going. Now she could play without having any problems.
Serena Williams’ catsuit got caught up with the French Open officials. And without declaring a proper explanation, they banned her catsuit from the future tennis tournaments. The French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli claimed that sometimes it’s taken too far. And that one must respect the game and the place which is why the Serena Williams’ catsuit will no longer be acceptable.
Serena Williams’ Response To The Catsuit Controversy
Serena Williams surely did not disappoint people with her response to the French Open banning her catsuit from the court. In fact, if anything she clapped back with the perfect response. And showed up wearing a tutu at 2018 US Open.
Serena Williams dressed up in a custom-designed look created by Louis Vuitton menswear artistic director Virgil Abloh, in a collaboration with Nike for the Queen clothing line. She topped off her fierce bodysuit tutu with glittery NikeCourt Flare footwear. The tennis superstar even shared that it felt it was very easy to play in that outfit. And that it was kind of aerodynamic and kept one of her arms free. Serena Williams added that the tutu was easy to play in because she had previously practiced. It was also fun for her.
Even though a lot many fans and popular celebrities came up to her defense with the whole catsuit controversy, Serena Williams herself had the most accurate reply to the ban.
The Reaction The Catsuit Controversy Triggered
With the French Open banning Serena Williams from wearing a catsuit to a tournament again, people were definitely outraged. Not just fans and celebrities, but Nike itself got involved. In a tweet, the sportswear brand wrote that they might take the superhero from her costume. But they could never take away her superpowers.
— Nike (@Nike) August 25, 2018
Other prominent voices like tennis legend Billie Jean King also took it to Twitter to express their concerns on the catsuit ban. She slammed the French Open saying that the policing of women bodies must end. And that Serena Williams should be respected for the talent she brings. Criticizing what she wears is simply disrespect.
The policing of women’s bodies must end. The “respect” that’s needed is for the exceptional talent @serenawilliams brings to the game. Criticizing what she wears to work is where the true disrespect lies. https://t.co/ioyP9VTCxM
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) August 25, 2018
Other people simply applauded her spirit.
so Serena Williams, the greatest tennis player of all time, can’t wear a black bodysuit that was specially made to prevent blood clotting due to post-birth health complications during the French Open because she “needs to respect the game?”
Serena Williams IS the game.
— Brian Gay (@brian2596) August 24, 2018
Yeah, I'm pretty sure Serena Williams shows "respect" for the game by playing it better than, you know, everyone ever.
— Jesse Wente (@jessewente) August 25, 2018
Is Serena Williams’ Outfit Even An Issue?
No matter what costume does a tennis player wear to the court, does it matter as long as they are displaying extreme talents? Probably not. In fact, it was the least significant of all issues. Something that stupid should definitely not be transformed into a controversy against the great players of all times. But is it just the catsuit that triggered the response from the French Open. Or is it the fact that Serena Williams is a black player? Maybe just because she’s a female? Perhaps, it’s both.
Racism and Sexism
It might be possible that white standards of beauty still dominate. Black people’s features are not in what conventional standards beauty dictate. Serena Williams’ catsuit was reminiscent of the popular black Panther film. The French Open’s decision clearly reflects not just sexism but also racism.
It implies that powerful men will always assert their dominance on women by telling them what to wear or to ban certain dresses. Opting for your own costume is no longer a personal choice for women. Whatever style the men dictate will comply with the white beauty standards. Previously, a white tennis player Anne White wore a white catsuit to Wimbledon. But it was considered okay for her. Is Serena Williams singled out because of being black then?
Serena Williams definitely battled the blatant sexism well by wearing a tutu the next time. It seems that the athlete has always been vocal about issues that people of color face. Previously, Serena Williams called out against the unfair treatment that black people receive. She mentioned that she was drug-tested more than other female tennis players. She said that even though she was proud to participate in these tests to keep sports healthy, everyone should get equal treatment. The tennis player only objected to be singled out for being tested an extra 5 times just because of her skin color.
Looks like it’s time that the French Open and other similar institutes realize where they go wrong. It’s certainly obvious that Jamie Murray doesn’t want to take Serena’s side on the matter.
But it seems as if the racist cartoon made by a french newspaper proves that her fight was not over. A later cover of Serena on GQ Magazine also sparked quite a controversy.