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

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.

127
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

12 Things Young Republicans Are Tired Of Hearing

A dozen myths about conservatism and what the real deal is.

7581
views

As a college student, I know a lot of people my age consider themselves very liberal. It's a rare occasion when you meet another conservative on campus. Being a young Republican, there are several negative assumptions that come along with that.

Here is a list of 12 things we're all tired of hearing.

1. "You're only a Republican because your parents are."

Yes, my parents are both Republican and that's where my morals and beliefs were first taught, but I am my own person. I have done my own research and decided that my views side with the Republican Party. There are several things that even my parents and I disagree on. I wouldn't choose to be a Democrat just so I could be different.


2. "I bet you support Trump."

While many Republicans my age are supporting Trump, that doesn't mean we all are. We're entitled to our personal opinions and assuming we're all the same is incorrect. Just because you are a Republican doesn't mean you automatically support Trump.

3. "You're racist, sexist, etc."

This couldn't be farther from the truth. There are so many Republicans that come from unique racial and cultural backgrounds, both genders included. Take Marco Rubio, Condoleezza Rice, Ben Carson, and Bobby Jindal. These are just a few of the many, many examples.


4. "You're uneducated about the issues."

Just because someone has a different opinion than you doesn't mean they're wrong or uninformed.


5. "You're only a Republican because you're rich."

I am by no means rich. Did my parents have enough money to support their family? Yes, and I'm very blessed for that. However, they didn't pay for everything. As for college, I worked my butt off to get scholarships and opportunities to succeed. I was taught at a very young age that money requires work and things aren't just handed to you. That's exactly the reason why I strongly support capitalism.


6. "Why don't you want free college?"

NOTHING IS FREE. Would free college be awesome? Absolutely! However, I do not believe it's fair to tax working people to pay for it. If you want something, work for it.


7. "The GOP is a bunch of old, white men."

This is so untrue. I mean take a look at all the well-known conservatives in America. Lauren Conrad, Britney Spears, Carrie Underwood, Carly Fiorina, Condoleezza Rice, Megyn Kelly, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, and so many more. Point proven.


8. "You're close-minded."

This is the most common and most annoying. Conservative does not equal close-minded. I love hearing about different ideas and opinions.


9. "You hate immigrants."

I personally feel like our immigration system is broken and needs to be changed so it's more accessible to become an American citizen. However, I don't believe those here illegally should receive taxpayer benefits. I'm all for immigration as long as it's done legally.


10. "You don't support women's rights."

Usually, this is brought up when talking about abortion. What about the rights of the unborn child? It's not just about one person's rights at that point.


11. "You should just #FeelTheBern."

#NO. I do not support socialism.


12. "You only hear the Fox News version."

Fox News is my favorite choice of news programs, but I also enjoy hearing the different views on CNN, NBC, Huffington Post, etc.


Cover Image Credit: Texas State University College Republicans

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

My Hometown Just Experienced A Mass Shooting, If We Don't Do Something, Yours Could Be Next

You never think it will happen to you until it does.

133
views

I was on my way out the door to work when I got a panicked call from my mother.

"Can you look at the news online?" she said quickly. "There is a mass shooting somewhere nearby."

My heart stopped. For me, Aurora, Illinois is home. I was born there, I grew up around the area and I attended high school there. My siblings go to school close by and my boyfriend works for a neighboring fire department.

How could my beloved hometown become the victim of the latest tragedy?

After calling my boyfriend, who was at the fire station getting ready to deploy ambulances to the scene, I discovered that it had taken place at a factory nearby. My anxiety hit an all-time high as I watched the updates on all of the local city Facebook pages and groups. Officers down. Gunman at large. Mass casualties.

Hours later, all of the facts came out. A former employee of Henry Pratt's Company, a local industrial warehouse, had recently been let go and decided to get revenge. He entered the warehouse with a gun and began to shoot at random, killing five people and wounding many others, including five police officers. He was killed by local SWAT forces.

I am the kind of person who is pro-gun and pro-gun rights because of the second amendment and all of the freedoms I believe we deserve. But that doesn't make what happened okay and it never will.

While this situation doesn't change my mind, it does change my view of the world.

Why would somebody decide that shooting former coworkers was the way to go? Why would anyone want to hurt others? These are the questions that flooded my mind in the hours after the mass shooting. I don't necessarily think we have a gun issue in America, but issues with mental health and valuing life.

We pass bills to kill unborn children. We repeal bills that take away healthcare from million. We devalue life in its most basic form and respect those around us to still have enough respect for each other's lives. We stigmatize those who need psychiatric care and expect things to still be alright.

This is not alright.

Our country, our system, our values, and morals, they are all broken and backward. We have let mass shootings become normal and violence becomes accepted. It needs to be stopped. There needs to be a change.

One of the people killed was an intern from a local college during his first day on the job. Being a college student applying to internships myself, this hit far too close to home. Nobody deserves to die, least of all in their place of work while trying to further their career.

Five people lost their lives due to someone's disrespect of them. Yes, a gun was the weapon, but a mind was the actor. I pray that someday, our country will return to valuing life and respecting others enough to help them instead of pushing them away. This is not the first mass shooting, but it can be the last. If, and only if, we make sure of it.

If you want to help the victim's families in any way, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with funeral expenses

Related Content

Facebook Comments