The 23-year-old Topley, the Hampshire and England fast bowler, and his father Don, introduced Svitolina to the sport she had even thought was played with a brush.
Almost two decades later, there are plenty of men and women across racial lines who still possess this opinion: a perfunctory search of “Serena” and “ugly” or “Serena” and “man” will generate a terrifying number of results.
This obsession with minimizing and masculinizing Serena isn’t just limited to a beauty standard, however.
I want to say that the first time that I heard Serena Williams called a man was middle school.
I can’t say that with absolute certainty as middle school is generally universally awful and grades six through eight are a haze of mob mentality and chocolate milk but nonetheless, it wasn’t until my teen years that I truly understood that people held a great amount of resentment for Serena Williams.
You can join her in waxing poetically about chicken, Cam'ron, and gentrification (gotta have some balance) under the influence of varying amounts of brown liquor at her semi-monthly blog, shamspam.You know what you need in your life? Not even a Wes Anderson joint, but something you might see as part of a museum exhibit before you head to the dinosaur section.
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Greatness is about impact, and the uncontested fact remains that in the last 25 years, Serena Williams has impacted the sport more than any of her peers, male or female.
Serena can have her baby and never pick up a racket again while exchanging cutesy Reddits with her fiancé on playdates with the Carter-Knowles twins and that significance of her multi-decade trajectory will remain an indelible constant.
However, the fact that this discussion has loomed so large over her career through a layered combination of misogyny and racism is what makes it so especially insulting that the same discussion is used to invalidate her legendary accomplishments.
Evidenced most recently by John Mc Enroe, who stated that he couldn’t call her the best tennis player ever without a gender qualifier “if she played the men’s circuit, she’d be, like, 700 in the world.”While it’s largely irrelevant, it should be noted that it’s unlikely that she would be ranked as low as 700.
Does her physique provide her an unfair advantage over women?