Why this Serena Williams magazine cover has caused outrage

Brunilde Fioravanti
Novembre 14, 2018

"I can't believe no one at GQ thought perhaps with misogynistic and violent trans insults that Serena (and Venus) have dealt with for the last nearly 20 years, to not put woman in quotation marks", one user suggested.

Alongside the image of the 37-year-old looking fierce in a black bodysuit accessorized by a gold chain-link Chanel belt, the word "man" (not in quotes) is slashed, and "Woman" is hand-written above it.

Last year, in a post on reddit, Williams opened up about being "called a man" because of her appearance.

Australian cartoonist Mark Knight published a caricature of Williams having a tantrum while jumping on her racket in the Herald Sun newspaper, which went viral, causing further anger.

A blow-up at the chair umpire during her US Open final with Naomi Osaka split opinions around the world over whether she was treated unfairly because of her gender.

At the bottom of the page, it says the handwriting is by designer Virgil Abloh, who has designed Nike outfits for Williams - and includes quotation marks in his work.

Quotes around the word woman on a major magazine give pause, and seem to play into that idea of lacking female characteristics while feeding gender norms, but in this case it's a compilation between artist and athlete who have taken the year by storm.

"I've been called man because I appeared outwardly strong", she wrote. She made big runs in each of her Grand Slam tournaments and finished as runner-up in the U.S. Open. It has been said I don't belong in Women's sports - that I belong in Men's - because I look stronger than many other women do. "Seriously how can you argue with this, " said another user. "(No, I just work hard and I was born with this baddass body and proud of it)".

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