Serena Williams encounters harsh body shaming and unjust comparisons to male physique

Serena Williams encounters harsh body shaming and unjust comparisons to male physique

 Serena Williams, widely hailed as the Greatest of All Time (GOAT), stirred up controversy this weekend with her unexpected appearance at the 2024 Paris Fashion Week. Critics scrutinized the complexion of the 42-year-old athlete, alleging it appeared lighter, and even accused her of undergoing facial plastic surgery. The real question, however, is why Williams should even concern herself with such remarks.

A user on X/Twitter shared a video of the star at one of the events, captioning it, "This is just sad." Another user commented on the clip, observing, "Funny, though, you can see the skin lightening, the facial plastic surgery enlargement, especially the nose, etc. Remember those proud little Compton girls with braids and colorful beads?"

This narrative is a distortion of reality. Williams has faced racist criticism for years. As she dominated tennis, white individuals often depicted her as heartless. Unfortunately, some within the Black community also joined in, denying her humanity and womanhood. Williams became the target of vitriol and harsh comments simply because she was a Black woman.

As a dark-skinned, athletic Black woman who shattered records in a predominantly white sport for decades, Williams was frequently subjected to sexist and anti-Black attacks. Following her victory at the French Open in June 2015, Williams was dehumanized and her physique compared to that of a man.

However, the abuse began much earlier. At the infamous 2001 BNP Paribas Open tournament in Indian Wells, California, Serena and her sister Venus Williams were not only booed by spectators but also subjected to racial slurs. Someone even uttered the horrifying words: "'I wish it was '75; we'd skin you alive,'" Serena recounted to USA Today.

As a result, Williams boycotted the event for over a decade, returning only in 2015. In 2009, Jason Whitlock remarked that she had "chosen to smother" her beauty "in an unsightly layer of thick, muscled blubber." In 2012, Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki mocked Williams by stuffing her bra and skirt during a match against her.

Despite enduring decades of mistreatment and cruelty, Williams continued to break records in tennis, including 23 Grand Slam singles titles, four Olympic gold medals, 14 Grand Slam doubles titles, and achieving a "Serena Slam." Additionally, she found love with her husband, Alexis Ohanian, and welcomed two beautiful daughters into the world.

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