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Fri Jul 17, 2015, 11:48 AM

Serena Is a Champion, Stop Talking About Her Body

Great article

(WOMENSENEWS)-- The body shaming tennis champion Serena Williams constantly faces is a window to a world where other women of color live, too. Lesbian and bisexual women are also targets because they often dare to step outside of norms, eschewing traditional forms of femininity.

Recently, Williams has been accused of using steroids by David Frum, an editor at The Atlantic, and used by The New York Times to spark a conversation on body image among top female tennis players. In the past, sports writer Jason Whitlock has piled on with comments like: "I am not fundamentally opposed to junk in the trunk, although my preference is a stuffed onion over an oozing pumpkin" in referring to Williams' derriere.

While we should be celebrating Williams' sixth Wimbledon championship and her 21st grand slam title, instead we are forced to ponder what is too masculine for women, especially female athletes. In this, one of the world's greatest athletes offers insight into how women navigate beauty norms, especially when the skin they're in is not the feminine default.

The truth is many girls and women of color have been ostracized and denied opportunity and access because of a perception they are further away from the dominant beauty ideal. These themes are being tackled head on in "Advantageous," a recently released science-fiction movie streamed on Netflix. The movie focuses particularly on age, and the constant pursuit of women to look younger. Teen girls of all races are susceptible to this critique, too, as illustrated by The Body Project, where Joan Jacobs Brumberg shows how adolescent girls' bodies have become projects.


http://womensenews.org/story/athleticssports/150717/serena-champion-stop-talking-about-her-body

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Reply Serena Is a Champion, Stop Talking About Her Body (Original post)
ismnotwasm Jul 2015 OP
onecaliberal Jul 2015 #1
randys1 Jul 2015 #2
roody Jul 2015 #3
ismnotwasm Jul 2015 #6
AtheistCrusader Jul 2015 #9
HassleCat Jul 2015 #4
ismnotwasm Jul 2015 #5
jeff47 Jul 2015 #7
niyad Jul 2015 #8
heaven05 Jul 2015 #10
jalan48 Jul 2015 #11
Maven Jul 2015 #12
eridani Jul 2015 #13
Alfalfa Aug 2015 #14
JTFrog Aug 2015 #16
JTFrog Aug 2015 #17
Name removed Aug 2015 #19
JTFrog Aug 2015 #18
marble falls Aug 2015 #15
Name removed Aug 2015 #20

Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Fri Jul 17, 2015, 11:50 AM

1. Exactly!

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Fri Jul 17, 2015, 11:53 AM

2. David Frum is a pathetic piece of shit. He should never have Serena's name on his lips

he doesnt deserve the right to speak her name.

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Response to randys1 (Reply #2)

Fri Jul 17, 2015, 11:58 AM

3. +1

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Response to randys1 (Reply #2)

Fri Jul 17, 2015, 12:07 PM

6. Heh!

So right you are!

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Response to randys1 (Reply #2)

Fri Jul 17, 2015, 02:30 PM

9. David Frum looks like he's taking stupid pills.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Fri Jul 17, 2015, 11:59 AM

4. She is an athlete, after all

 

She's big and strong, with real muscles. They do this a lot with female athletes, expecting them to be good at the sport, and look feminine and cutesy at the same time. It rarely happens with men, but its funny when it does. Years ago, Peggy Fleming was doing commentary on a men's figure skating competition, and there was this one guy who was really buffed. His dad owned a Gold's Gym, and he spent some time there, and it showed. Poor Peggy could not contain herself, making all sorts of comments about how this guy had the best body on the ice, etc. We can laugh at that, because boys and men don't have nearly the same problems as girls and women when it comes to being judged by their looks.

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Response to HassleCat (Reply #4)

Fri Jul 17, 2015, 12:07 PM

5. Excellent points

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Fri Jul 17, 2015, 12:13 PM

7. One only needs to compare an NFL player to a male model

to realize there's a wee bit of a double standard going on.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Fri Jul 17, 2015, 01:12 PM

8. k and r

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Fri Jul 17, 2015, 02:34 PM

10. at the bottom of all the body BS, vox.com June 7 2015

 

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Fri Jul 17, 2015, 02:44 PM

11. What's wrong with Serena's body? She's fit and beautiful.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Fri Jul 17, 2015, 02:50 PM

12. i think she has an awesome body. strong, athletic, shapely

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Tue Jul 28, 2015, 02:45 AM

13. Comment from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/31402-body-shaming-black-female-athletes-is-not-just-about-race

OK, I lied: Some of the body shaming of athletic black women is definitely a racist rejection of black women’s bodies that don’t conform to the traditional body shapes of white athletes and dancers. No one questions the beauty of black actresses such as Kerry Washington (Scandal) or Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) because they fit the lithe image perpetuated by women’s fashion magazines. The body shaming of Williams and Copeland is partly because they don’t fit the Western ideal of femininity. But another cause is our disrespectful ideal of the feminine body in general.

The bigger issue here is the public pressure regarding femininity, especially among our athletes. It’s a misogynist idea that is detrimental to professional women athletes and to all the young girls who look up to these women as role models because it can stifle their drive to excellence, not only on the playing field, but in other aspects of life.

<snip>

This beauty standard translates in sports to women being more concerned with a marketable image than athletic ability. Tennis pro Agnieszka Radwanska is 5 feet 8 but only 123 pounds. This is a conscious decision by her coach “to keep her as the smallest player in the top 10,” he told the New York Times. “Because, first of all she’s a woman, and she wants to be a woman.” Tennis pro Andrea Petkovic, ranked 14th, said she hated seeing photos of her bulging arms whenever she hit a two-handed backhands. “I just feel unfeminine,” she said. “I don’t know — it’s probably that I’m self-conscious about what people might say. It’s stupid, but it’s insecurities that every woman has, I think … I would love to be a confident player that is proud of her body. Women, when we grow up we’ve been judged more, our physicality is judged more, and it makes us self-conscious.”

This reluctance to push themselves physically because they reduce their marketability as women results in some women athletes never striving to be the fully realized athletes they could be.
This same mentality of holding back to fit the social mold of a “lady” makes women less competitive in the job marketplace, too.

Sharapova, at 6 feet 2 and 130 pounds (Williams is 5 feet 9 and weighs 150 pounds), admits that that she wishes she could be even thinner: “I always want to be skinnier with less cellulite; I think that’s every girl’s wish.” (Is it? Should it be?) She says she does no weight training. “I can’t handle lifting more than five pounds. It’s just annoying, and it’s just too much hard work. And for my sport, I just feel like it’s unnecessary.” Yet she’s been beaten 17 times in a row by someone who has added that muscle necessary to excel. Does she want to be the highest-paid female athlete or the best one?

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Sun Aug 2, 2015, 07:01 PM

14. If a woman is unusually muscular

 

Naturally, people are going to ask questions. I don't think this is something we can blame on "beauty standards".

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Response to Alfalfa (Reply #14)

Sun Aug 2, 2015, 09:32 PM

16. What do you mean naturally people are going to ask questions?

 

Last edited Sun Aug 2, 2015, 10:58 PM - Edit history (1)

What kind of questions?

Can you give me some specifics on what questions would be "natural" to ask about her body? Do you have questions? And in your response, can you please explain what you mean by this is not something we can blame on "beauty standards"? What reasons then would anyone have to question anything about her body? And again, if this is not something based on "beauty standards", then why would you find muscular "unusual"? There are plenty of muscular women in this world.

Thank you for answering in advance.

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Response to Alfalfa (Reply #14)

Sun Aug 2, 2015, 09:37 PM

18. Oh, I see you can't respond as you are flagged for review.

 

Just as well. This site doesn't seem to be a good fit for you.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Sun Aug 2, 2015, 09:25 PM

15. A lot of men are intimidated by a successful woman, let alone one that can kick thier butts in sport

and just generally kick their butt.

Serena Williams is a successful, well adjusted world class athlete. Frum is a frustrated writer who's trying to gin controversy by casting aspersions and claiming he's just starting a conversation.

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