Caption: Serena Williams, of the United States, returns a shot against Varvara Lepchenko, of the United States, during the third round of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, in New York. Photo credit: Darron Cummings/AP
When was the last time you read a critique of Jay Cutler’s physique? Or found an online debate over whether LeBron James is sexy? Have you pondered Jonathan Toews’ masculinity?
These are nonexistent conversations. These athletes’ bodies are rarely discussed and they are never asked about their bodies, unless it involves a pulled hamstring.
Even as she is celebrated for making a run at history in the U.S. Open, aiming to become the first woman in 27 years to complete a calendar-year Grand Slam, these are questions that constantly envelope Serena Williams. They often become stories fixating on sexualizing or criticizing her body instead of applauding her unmatched success in tennis. The intersection of racism and sexism has perhaps never been at such a high pitch in a sports conversation as when it comes to Williams.
I have to wonder — we all should — why are her curves discussed more than her serves?
“There’s no question that there is still inequality,” said Celeste Watkins-Hayes, a Northwestern associate professor of sociology and African-American studies and faculty fellow at the Institute for Policy Research. “It’s not just that there’s a black woman playing the sport. But it’s a black woman playing a sport that’s been dominated, when we look at both players and audience, by wealthier whites.
That is a space in which a very clear perception exists of what’s acceptable. It’s very narrow.”
That is not only apparent in how Williams is discussed. It’s how she’s valued from a business standpoint.
That she makes $10 million less in endorsements than Maria Sharapova, a thin white blonde whom Williams …Read More
Source:: PM Newspaper