Let's Talk About Serena

Let's Talk About Serena

A collection of commentary and "serious journalism" on Serena Williams that has absolutely nothing to do with her success in tennis.
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Serena Williams has dominated women’s tennis for more than a decade and is considered by many to be the greatest athlete of our time. Though she has been called inconsistent, her skill and precision are unparalleled and some predict that she will win another seven or eight major titles to add to the twenty she already has before she retires. Unfortunately, it seems that people have more important things to talk about, like her race, physique, and all of the ways that she fails to fit into their idea of a traditionally attractive woman. As a result, Serena has been forced to respond to many inappropriate and dehumanizing comments from high profile individuals. While Serena and her supporters are well aware of the prejudice she faces, it can be hard to believe that the comments about her are that bad, so below is a small sample.

"With a reduction in glut, a little less butt and a smidgen more guts, Serena Williams would easily be as big as Michael Jackson, dwarf Tiger Woods and take a run at Rosa Parks." - Jason Whitlock
“Williams, who will be vying for the Wimbledon title against Garbiñe Muguruza on Saturday, has large biceps and a mold-breaking muscular frame, which packs the power and athleticism that have dominated women’s tennis for years. Her rivals could try to emulate her physique, but most of them choose not to.” - New York Times

Russian tennis official Shamil Tarpischev called Serena and Venus the “Williams brothers” and stated, "It's frightening when you look at them. But really you just need to play against the ball."

“I can’t even watch them play anymore. I find it disgusting. I find both of those, what do you want to call them—they’re just too muscular. They’re boys” - Sid Rosenberg, Imus in the Morning

Discussing this (totally awesome) tennis outfit:

On some women [the catsuit] might look good. Unfortunately, some women aren’t wearing it. On Serena, it only serves to accentuate a superstructure that is already bordering on the digitally enhanced and a rear end that I will attempt to sum up as discreetly as possible by simply referring to it as “formidable.” - Sydney Morning Herald

“[Serena Williams] is helping to transform the nature of women’s tennis into a game of muscle and power. She is turning the tennis circuit into a more diverse place. But her tight black tennis romper was the stylistic equivalent of trash talk. It looked trashy. And it did her a disservice.” - Robin Givhan, Washington Post

A spectator to Serena’s father: “I wish it was '75; we'd skin you alive."

“Tennis star Serena Williams cruised to a victory in the finals of Australian Open women's singles on Saturday and then dispatched her buttocks on Sunday to secure the doubles title. Serena beat her sister ... to win her fourth-straight major. On Sunday, her butt muscled its way to a 6-2, 6-1 title victory over the doubles pair of Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paola Suarez. The feat is the first-known occurrence of a body part winning a professional athletic contest.” - Sportspickle

"Generally, I'm all for chunky sports stars ... but tennis requires a mobility Serena cannot hope to achieve while lugging around breasts that are registered to vote in a different US state from the rest of her. - Matthew Norman, The Independent

@serenawilliams @WTA Serena the gorilla won again pfff, grunts like one, looks like, is one. #Wimbledon— Richie (@DickLongYo) July">https://twitter.com/DickLongYo/status/619918113824... 11, 2015

"Serena Williams look like a man with tits, its only when she wears weave she looks female tbh, what a HENCH BOLD GORILLA!
— Lighty Makhaye (@MeLighty) June">https://twitter.com/MeLighty/status/60779569122686... 8, 2015

@serenawilliams is way more manly than ANY man in the #FrenchOpen It's absolutely disgusting. She's the original #CaitlynJenner
— Eric Annable (@EricAnnable) June">https://twitter.com/EricAnnable/status/60719246036... 6, 2015









At this point, you are probably (hopefully) disgusted at how many of those comments were published in newspapers or said on nationally syndicated radio programs, and you may have noticed some transphobia in addition to the racism and sexism. You may be thinking, "sticks and stones, she's so successful she should just ignore it," and to a certain extent you are right. These comments are demoralizing and not worth Serena's acknowledgment. However, I would imagine that it is tiresome when your success is attributed only to your glutes, or when people ignore your skills because they are more interested in your outfit. What many don't realize is that this attitude about Serena does actually harm her. Serena wins more prize money than any other female tennis player, by far, but makes nowhere near as much in endorsements as some of her competitors. For example, Maria Sharapova is much higher paid because she is tall, slender, and blonde and fits better into the mold of the ideal feminine athlete. While we cannot individually change how much Serena is paid, we can change how we talk about her.

  • Serena Williams is black, and while that identity is an important part of her, it does not make her a "savage" or "barbaric" player. It is inexcusable to compare her to a gorilla or any other animal. She is a human, and a very talented one at that.
  • While Serena's blackness is important because she and her sister have paved the way for other black tennis players, it does them a disservice to focus solely on that. Serena and Venus changed the game of women's tennis. They brought power and skill that no one had ever seen before, and to say that "increasing diversity" (read: happening to be black and also good at tennis) is their biggest accomplishment ignores their tremendous ability as players.
  • Serena identifies as a woman. She happens to also have been blessed with a genetic predisposition for muscle growth. It is acceptable to speculate about how she would hold up when competing against a great male tennis player. It is not acceptable to say that she is not feminine enough, or that she is not female.
  • It is okay if you do not find Serena attractive. She might just not be your type and that's totally fine. I highly doubt that she will lament over your opinion while looking at all of her trophies. That being said, if you are personally uncomfortable with the fact that she has more muscle than you do, don't go tell the Internet. If you feel emasculated, either take a sociology class and thoughtfully examine your perceptions of gender, or hit the gym. Do not take your own sense of inadequacy out on someone who has never done anything to you.

Serena has achieved outstanding success in tennis and there is nothing to suggest that she will not continue to do so. It is about time that we shift the focus from how she looks and the identities she was born with to her skill as a player, charity work, great personality, and how many more titles she'll win before she retires.


Cover Image Credit: http://eji.org/files/williams_0.jpg

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7 Lies From F*ckboys That We've All Fallen For At Least Once

They might've had you goin' for a hot second, but you know better now.
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There’s no use in even frontin’; we’ve all been there. You know he’s a f*ckboy from the beginning, but you’re interested in pursuing him anyway. Ain't no thang; I fully support you.

You tell yourself you won’t fall for his games or lies because you’ve been through it all so many times before. Yet, time and time again, you find yourself slippin’ for a hot second, wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt until he inevitably disappoints you. Here are the top seven lies you’ve heard from f*ckboys that get you heated every time.

1. You’re the only girl I’m talking to/sleeping with


HAHAHA. OK, first, I don't actually care what (or who) you're doing in your spare time because you're definitely not the only guy I'm seeing either. I'm just asking so I know you're clean, OK? I don't need more stress in my life.

2. I know how to treat girls right

Isn't it super ironic how the WORST f*ckboys are the ones to toss this line?

3. I’ll text you

This statement is so unbelievable that on the off chance that they do actually text you, you basically fall out of your chair in shock.

4. I’m gonna give it to you good

I cry/cringe/die of laughter every time I hear this one because it's always the mediocre ones that throw this line. None of my most memorable hookups have ever said this because their actions clearly speak for them. Mediocre boys, TAKE NOTE.

5. Damn, I wanted to see you though

Well, you were supposed to, but then you clearly had other plans in mind. So the desire wasn’t all that intense, obviously.

6. Yeah, she and I broke up

CLASSIC LIE. CLASSIC. Sure, I believed it the first couple of times, but don’t even try that sh*t with me after I see she’s still blowin’ up your line.

7. *No response for hours after making plans* Damn, sorry I fell asleep


Honestly, how many times are you gonna throw that line when you’re literally viewable on Snap Map. BOY, I see you at someone else’s house. Stop frontin’, there’s no point.


Again, don't ask me why we put up with this sh*t because the mystery remains. I guess in our own sick, twisted ways, we crave the dramatics and thrills that come from their f*ckery. Whatever the reason, though, at least we've got some ~fun~ stories to tell.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube | I'm Shmacked

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Did The NFL Just Make Kneeling A Bigger Crime Than Domestic Violence?

I'm pretty sure hitting your wife is more deplorable than taking a knee during the National Anthem.
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Since the election of President Trump, NFL players have been the face of controversy. With players refusing to stand for the National Anthem, instead choosing to kneel as an act of protest, many people were not afraid to speak out against them.

Recently, the NFL announced that players present on the field during the singing of the National Anthem would be required to stand lest their team be willing to pay a fine.

Now you can have your opinion on whether or not that's just or whether or not that is the NFL politically leaning one way or there other. Frankly, that's not my issue here.

My problem is that players who are convicted of domestic abuse are only suspended for six games upon their first offense.

It seems to me that the NFL found the need to prioritize what qualifies as freedom of speech over the quality of human life.

The NFL's policy is a slap in the face to all of the wives, girlfriends, significant others, one night stands, and all other women who have fallen victim to domestic abuse by the professional athletes who were their partners. It's bad enough that the trauma they faced was only worth a six-game suspension. Now there's an actual price tag on kneeling, while these women continue to suffer in silence.

I have my opinions on the NFL's decision to start doling out this fine. But that's not what this article is about. This article is about giving a voice to victims of abuse. This article is about pointing out that our political quarrels are being put before conversations about the safety of actual human beings.

No one is being physically harmed when an athlete chooses to kneel.

You can call them disrespectful. You can call them privileged. But those men are not beating their wives and girlfriends.

The men on the field who abused those they supposedly love are standing tall while the Anthem is sung, and that's all people see. They don't see the man who took away a woman's innocence, pride, and drive.

People choose to see an act of political defiance as more offensive than a man hitting his wife.

The NFL will probably never see these words.

But someone will. And someone probably have something to say about how these are "two completely different arguments" and that we "shouldn't compare them."

Someone else will probably say something about how there are men and women fighting overseas for our freedom, and that these teams should be fined because their players are disrespecting the honor of those men and women.

I think those men and women are probably more disgusted by the fact that we continue to glorify men who intentionally hurt their significant others, just because they're good at throwing a ball and running up and down the field.

While the Constitution gives each and every one of us the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech, religion, press, peaceable assembly, and petitioning the government, nowhere does it give us the right to physically harm another person. I think it's time the NFL took note of that.

There should be no policy of a "first offense" when it comes to domestic violence. I won't support an organization that fines its members for kneeling, but doesn't do more than bench them when they abuse another human being.

Ray Rice received a two-game suspension in 2014 for hitting his fiance. Colin Kaepernick knelt and then used his platform to become an advocate.

But Kaepernick's the villain here, right?

Really think about it before you answer that question. And maybe then take a page out of Kaepernick's book and use whatever platform you have to fight for the women who lost everything because powerful men beat the fight out of them.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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