French Open

I played tennis in high school. Not well, but I enjoyed playing. Also, I liked the skirts.

I’m really not that into sports. I enjoy watching a game here or there & the Olympics are fun, but I don’t like keep track of anyone.

When the president of the French Open made a statement regarding upcoming changes to the dress code & then proceeded to single out Serena Williams I thought here’s something we need to think about for a minute.

Up to this point there has been no dress code at the French Open. I believe Wimbledon (all white please & thanks) is the only tournament outside the Olympics that has a dress code. The French Open is held in Paris, the fashion capital of the world. Players & spectators tend to be effortlessly chic. I mean, it’s Paris, you bring your A game in all aspects.

Serena Williams, back in action after giving birth & suffering from some serious blood clot complications, had a full body catsuit designed for compression purposes.

She looks chic & fierce as hell. She made brief comments about her attire in a press conference for the tournament stating it not only had a medical functionality, but it made her feel like a superhero, a warrior, a Wakanda Queen.

I think that sometimes we’ve gone to far. It will no longer be accepted. One must respect the game & the place. -Bernard Giudicelli

There’s been quite a bit of backlash to this statement. I can see why. Am I suppose to believe that one of the greatest players of all time would choose to disrespect her game? A player that has faced derogatory commentary time & time again with grace & patience is suddenly lashing out at tennis by wearing a catsuit? Seems unlikely.

Lots of people are speaking out against these statements as the patriarchy policing women’s bodies. And yes, it is the patriarchy policing women’s bodies, but I think it may be the opposite issue. Women show a lot of skin on the tennis court. Tiny skirts, boy shorts, underpants on full display, tank tops, racerbacks, etc. They all usually have a femininity, juvenile/adolescent femininity in some cases, about them. You know, the female image propagated as appealing to the male eye. Here’s a woman fully covered, albeit in a body hugging suit, & they’ve decided to take issue.

Like I said she looks chic & fierce, she also looks sexy, but frankly who cares? Well, the man in charge cares because fierce women are not the wares that he peddles. He doesn’t want the women to look fierce & capable of domination. He wants them to look soft & delicate so their achievements are undermined by a docile appearance.

I also think his sentiments are racist not just sexist. She fancied herself a superhero, a warrior, a Queen of Wakanda. Sure it’s a fictional place, but it seems to have elicited a reaction from this man. A black woman feels powerful? How dare she threaten some imaginary authority he holds over her. Maybe I’m wrong, but I just felt something deeper there than sexism.

And do you know what her response publicly has been? To tell people to calm down. To say things are fine. She says they have spoke privately. She does not air her grievances in the court of public opinion. She has handled this with grace & respect for the game. She will not be made a mockery. She will not give fuel to the fire. She might wear a tutu at the US Open. Isn’t that a clever tongue in cheek response? She loves her sport & she’ll just keep proving it with win after win.

-Cassy

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