The High Low – Serena Williams

Why women aren’t allowed to get angry?

For the current brand zine project, we have been looking into women in sport and the remaining inequalities that are still evident today. There is still a lack of appreciation for female athletes and sporting heroes which I feel could discourage a young female audience to partaking in the sports they enjoy. There is still also a heavy focus on appearance and ideals, rather than ability and achievement, again in my opinion not supporting young women to have the confidence to strive to develop in a sport.

Williams lost her temper serial times with the umpire in the final of the US open earlier this year. She was abusive to Ramos calling him a liar and a thief. She was fined $17,000 for verbal code dilations. I listened to the High Low podcast episode back in September’18 and I have revisited it to support our research into the ongoing problems in sport.

Williams had been called unsportsmanlike for failing to understand the parameters of her game. However male tennis players do this all the time and aren’t punished the way Williams was. This brings the issue of misogyny. If this had been someone like Nick Kyrgios, known for his petulance, the outcome would have been a very different story.

Acts of misogyny hit tennis all the time, whether it be maternity leave, uniform or behaviour. I believe that the comment, “Serena showed no grace, she showed a shocking example to her daughter.” Shows exactly how women are still perceived in sport. It should not be obligatory to be graceful be a leading a sportswomen.

Sue Barker stated, “I’ve sat court-side watching the men ranting at umpires and haven’t been given a violation.” Russ mentioned Billie Jean King to us who Schulz befriended and took action with. She won ten grand slams titles and helped found the women’s tennis tour and pave the way for equal prize money in sport. She also commented, “When a woman is emotional, she is hysterical and she is penalised for it. When a man does the same, he is outspoken and there are no repercussions. Thank you Williams for calling out the double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.”

It was very telling to me that the women that have been in the industry in some capacity, who have experienced what it is like from the inside, are the people that defended Williams.

This is something that we want to take forward in the content for our zine – spreading awareness of the inequalities in sport and different treatment seen. We want young females to feel empowered and part of a supported community, rather than pushed in to a corner of little worth.


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