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Tennis Turmoil

Did Serena Williams’ GQ cover shame her athletic body type?

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Tennis Turmoil

GQ magazine came under scrutiny over their questionable use of quotation marks on a recent cover featuring tennis great, Serena Williams.

GQ magazine came under scrutiny over their questionable use of quotation marks on a recent cover featuring tennis great, Serena Williams.

Photo by Rachel Edwards

GQ magazine came under scrutiny over their questionable use of quotation marks on a recent cover featuring tennis great, Serena Williams.

Photo by Rachel Edwards

Photo by Rachel Edwards

GQ magazine came under scrutiny over their questionable use of quotation marks on a recent cover featuring tennis great, Serena Williams.

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American professional tennis player and winner of 23 US Open titles, Serena Williams is a world renowned athlete who has obtained a muscular body type through her constant training.

Despite having a great number of achievements in her athletic career, Williams is consistently shamed for her body type and even stripped of her identity as a woman. Although she has faced this criticism throughout her career, the most recent controversy is a GQ cover featuring Williams with a reference to her as “‘Woman.’”

Williams has been recently named GQ’s Woman of the Year, she is being featured in one of four covers of the December issue wearing a black long-sleeve turtleneck leotard. However, the cover did not simply refer to her as “Woman of the Year” but rather decided to put “Woman” in quotations on the cover, sparking outrage from Williams’ supporters.

The quotations around Williams’ gender implies that she is less of a woman and more like a man because of her masculine physique, a criticism she has heard for the duration of her career.

Although Williams has yet to comment on the cover, last year, Williams wrote about being called a man because of her muscular body type, explaining, “I’ve been called man because I appeared outwardly strong … 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.”

Knowing that this is a criticism Williams faces often, readers are questioning GQ’s choice of punctuation for her gender.

GQ has not directly responded to the allegations of shaming Williams, but on Twitter, Mick Rouse, research manager for GQ, replies, “Because it was handwritten by Virgil Abloh of Off-White, who has styled everything in quotation marks as of late” in reference to designer Virgil Abloh.

Abloh frequently uses quotation marks in his designs. He has previously designed Williams’ US Open outfit, featuring “Serena” in quotations on her trainers and “Logo” on her tutu dress.

The game of tennis is often decided by a judgment or ruling. Was it in or was it out? Was it a net or was it a point? In this case, GQ readers are deciding whether the cover was a hit or a miss.

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Rachel Edwards, Staff Writer

Grade 12

"Be good to people without reason."

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