Too Feminist to Function
What we witnessed in the US Open finals was not feminism, but a selfish tantrum from one of my favorite players.
I was taking a test last week. Out of nowhere, a friend walked past the window and gave me an encouraging thumbs up. I was thinking, “Great! Keep going”, when Mr. Ramos spotted him and asked him to stop. Then, the teacher came to me and deducted a point from my exam! Who does he think he is? I didn’t even see the friend who walked by. I was so angry, I snapped my pencil in two. Ramos took yet another mark for that. What a thief! It must be because I’m a woman.
It didn’t go exactly like that. Replace the classroom with a tennis court, the pencil with a raquet, and the teacher with an umpire, and the story was that of Serena Williams during the final of this year’s US Open. William’s supporters say that what we witnessed in the Arthur Ashe Stadium was a stand for feminism, but it was nothing more than a selfish tantrum. Instead of admitting her defeat, she disregarded sportsmanship for a moment and stole the spotlight from a well deserved opponent, Naomi Osaka.
In mid-match, Serena claimed that the only reason for the referee penalizing her was her sex. This then escalated to a full-on protest over women’s rights. If feminism is understood as advocacy for equality between sexes, then her argument was outright false. Data from the New York Times shows that between 1998 and 2018, 1517 males have been penalized during Grand Slam tournaments vs 535 females. Even accounting for the fact that they play more sets, men are still fined more than women proportionally.
Perhaps Serena Williams has experienced sexism throughout her career and it is an issue that should be advocated for, but she did so in the wrong place at the wrong time. More and more often, people are pulling the “women card”. It is fair to use it to fight inequality, but when falsely employed, it is counterproductive to the cause.