What Happened at the US Open

A Feminist's Perspective On Why Celebrating Serena William's Behavior Is Troubling

A personal take on the controversial match between tennis veteran Serena Williams and rising star Naomi Osaka.

131
views

It was the game that was heard around the world. With the #serena and #usopen trending across Twitter, and countless articles being posted on Facebook, everyone, including tennis greats like John Mcenroe and Billie Jean King seemed to be vocalizing their opinions.

Before you read any further on my own, personal perspective, however, I urge you to develop one of your own:

Here is the video that shows the "highlights" from the match, namely the ones that showed William's dispute with the umpire (via ESPN, liberal).

Here is an article that states that Serena's coach was directing her from the sidelines (via The South African, independent).

Here is an article that sums up opinions from past pro tennis players, both in support and in opposition. (via The Irish Examiner, independent).

Now that you've found your own take on what happened, hear me out on why I believe that Serena William's actions in this year's US Open final are not fully justified by the explanation of sexism and racism.

The chain of events that lead to the controversial conclusion began when the umpire, Carlos Ramos (a famous stickler for rules, with previous altercations with Rafael Nadal, and Serena's sister, Venus Williams) issued a "code violation" to Williams for a hand gesture her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, had directed to her. Williams stated that she had not seen the gesture, and although Mouratoglou later admitted to coaching, he also mentioned that he did not think that she had seen it.

Serena, later on in the match, seemingly frustrated by the effort that Naomi Osaka was putting forward, smashed her racket, resulting in another code violation. Because this was her second one, this resulted in a point penalty. Williams, visibly upset by this, later engages in a heated exchange with umpire Carlos Ramos, resulting in a third violation and the forfeiting of a game (going from 4-3 to 5-3, Osaka).

Tennis, like any other sport, has its rules. Sure, you might not agree with them, and that's fine. But express your opinions off the court. In the case of this matchup, William's outspoken behavior resulted in a visibly distraught Naomi Osaka (whose idol was Williams and was booed by the audience for her win), and an inefficient and inappropriate handling by Katrina Adams who is the chairman and president of the USTA.

Following the argument that men frequently exhibit more outbursts, but are penalized less (which, in the terms of this U.S. Open, was simply not true as-"86 code violations of all sorts were given to men, compared with 22 for women.") should we really be encouraging women to celebrate such behavior? I understand the need for equality, and have been exposed to instances where sex was the deciding factor in a decision, rather than personal qualification and merit, but in the terms of sportsmanship and positive conduct, shouldn't we be advocating for taking the higher road instead?

A popular comparison between Serena William's actions this weekend is with the tennis legend John Mcenroe. He was famous for his court outbreaks and had many violations and penalties directed at him in his time. Although he is still considered a tennis great, Mcenroe has been the source for many controversies: even one directed at Williams. Mcenroe was known for being racist, crass, and seemingly uneducated on the field. This reputation has continued to follow him throughout the years, and he has even apologized and expressed remorse at his conduct in his younger years.

Serena William's is considered a role model for many. She is a tennis legend and will continue to inspire generations to come. However, all actions come with a reaction- and in her case, a distinctly unsportsmanlike meltdown and the unjust redirection of hate and opposition towards Naomi Osaka (whether intended or not) should have come with a reaction: a moment of introspection and realization that her actions may have done more hurt than good, and that perhaps a more conductive way of expressing her thoughts on the way tennis should change would have been off of the court, rather than on.

In the end, I believe that this was not a matter of sexism or racism. The tennis world is incredibly diverse and filled with all sorts of people from different backgrounds and heritage. I believe that this, instead, may have been a problem of antiquated rules within tennis that can change in the years to come.

In any case, congratulations to Naomi Osaka for her brilliant win and the start of a great and empowering career. And congratulations to Serena Williams, nonetheless, for coming this far in her field and being such a pioneer for generations to come.

Popular Right Now

This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
325991
views

It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Dear Senator Walsh, I Can't Wait For The Day That A Nurse Saves Your Life

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

213
views

Dear Senator Walsh,

I can't even fathom how many letters you've read like this in the past 72 hours. You've insulted one of the largest, strongest and most emotion-filled professions.. you're bound to get a lot of feedback. And as nurses, we're taught that when something makes us mad, to let that anger fuel us to make a difference and that's what we're doing.

I am not even a nurse. I'm just a nursing student. I have been around and I've seen my fair share of sore legs and clinical days where you don't even use the bathroom, but I am still not even a nurse yet. Three years in, though, and I feel as if I've given my entire life and heart to this profession. My heart absolutely breaks for the men and women who are real nurses as they had to wake up the next morning after hearing your comments, put on their scrubs and prepare for a 12-hour day (during which I promise you, they didn't play one card game).

I have spent the last three years of my life surrounded by nurses. I'm around them more than I'm around my own family, seriously. I have watched nurses pass more medications than you probably know exist. They know the side effects, dosages and complications like the back of their hand. I have watched them weep at the bedside of dying patients and cry as they deliver new lives into this world. I have watched them hang IV's, give bed baths, and spoon-feed patients who can't do it themselves. I've watched them find mistakes of doctors and literally save patient's lives. I have watched them run, and teach, and smile, and hug and care... oh boy, have I seen the compassion that exudes from every nurse that I've encountered. I've watched them during their long shifts. I've seen them forfeit their own breaks and lunches. I've seen them break and wonder what it's all for... but I've also seen them around their patients and remember why they do what they do. You know what I've never once seen them do? Play cards.

The best thing about our profession, Senator, is that we are forgiving. The internet might be blown up with pictures mocking your comments, but at the end of the day, we still would treat you with the same respect that we would give to anyone. That's what makes our profession so amazing. We would drop anything, for anyone, anytime, no matter what.

You did insult us. It does hurt to hear those comments because from the first day of nursing school we are reminded how the world has zero idea what we do every day. We get insulted and disrespected and little recognition for everything we do sometimes. But you know what? We still do it.

When it's your time, Senator, I promise that the nurse taking care of you will remember your comments. They'll remember the way they felt the day you publicly said that nurses "probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day." The jokes will stop and it'll eventually die down, but we will still remember.

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

Please just remember that we cannot properly take care of people if we aren't even taken care of ourselves.

I sincerely pray that someday you learn all that nurses do and please know that during our breaks, we are chugging coffee, eating some sort of lunch, and re-tying our shoes... not playing cards.

Related Content

Facebook Comments