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Serena's Shout Against Sexism

Jeannie Gianni

Posted on September 11, 2018 20:21

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With Serena's finger pointing at sexism, this weekend displayed what others can do to each other.

I was having a lovely day in Ventura, California this Saturday. Strolling through the mist, artisan paintings and creations wafted me into a mellow nirvana. As lunch approached, my best friend and I went to a local pizzeria. On the screen, the enormous and modern Arthur Ashe stadium was on display and in the corner it stated that 20-year old Naomi Osaka won the first game against the greatest tennis athlete in the world, Serena Williams, 6-2.

This is a pretty substantial blow to Serena to lose the first set, but, knowing this renowned champion, my heart palpitations were only slight. We finished our pizza and beers then walked back to our car: driving back to reality.

In the car, I had my phone open to see that Serena was losing the second set 4-5. Oh, how little did I know as I saw the 5 for Osaka go to a 6 what a debacle had happened. 

Serena Williams has become a pillar in the tennis community. When Serena came back after becoming a mother, all eyes were on her and all hope stacked in her corner. Don't we want to see a woman have it all? So, to just see her lose, it cracked a sliver in the aspirations of many. 

As a fair-weather tennis fan, I did know the rule that players cannot be coached in the box. Tennis is a cerebral, critical-thinking solo endeavor. Coaching is allowed if the players call them onto the courts, but the coach and others cannot coach in the stands. What I didn't know was that umpires actually care. It seemed like a suggestion, not a rule.

Unfortunately, when Serena and her coach were called for this violation, Serena took this penalty personally. To say that someone was coached without permission, to Serena, meant that she was cheating. She has been playing tennis longer than Osaka has been alive. For the leader and example in the sport to be called for this violation cut her deeply. 

Many would have liked her to have taking the "higher road," but Serena stated that this is not the first time that her gender has hindered her career at the U.S. Open. If she felt like this was sexism, then no one can take that from her. No one knows what she has had to deal with, kept quiet and stifled for all of these years. We don't know.

Her comments and anger may seem exaggerated to some, but I am on her side. If she has finally had enough then we need to listen to her: not blame, harass or blow her off.

I do wish that Osaka was able to live the glory that she always thought of when she imagined playing Serena in the U.S. Open. But, like Serena said, if sexism is called out now then hopefully Osaka will never have to deal with a knife like that.

 

Jeannie Gianni

Posted on September 11, 2018 20:21

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Source: Vogue
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Serena could have taken a deep breath and composed herself, but that’s not the real world of competition. That’s not the...

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