Gender and the Law Prof Blog

Editor: Tracy A. Thomas
University of Akron School of Law

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Serena Williams and woman's body image

Serena Williams won another Wimbledon title this weekend.  She is deservedly the most accomplished athlete--of any gender--for a sport.  

Alas, there are discussions regarding her body image and what said discussions say about how we think about gender.  

From the NYT:

Despite Williams’s success — a victory Saturday would give her 21 Grand Slam singles titles and her fourth in a row — body-image issues among female tennis players persist, compelling many players to avoid bulking up.

“It’s our decision to keep her as the smallest player in the top 10,” said Tomasz Wiktorowski, the coach of Agnieszka Radwanska, who is listed at 5 feet 8 and 123 pounds. “Because, first of all she’s a woman, and she wants to be a woman.”

For many, perceived ideal feminine body type can seem at odds with the best physique for tennis success. Andrea Petkovic, a German ranked 14th, said she particularly loathed seeing pictures of herself hitting two-handed backhands, when her arm muscles appear the most bulging.

“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 definitely have them and I’m not ashamed to admit it. 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.”

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/gender_law/2015/07/serena-williams-and-womans-body-image-.html

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