When people think about 36-year-old Serena Williams, they usually think about the 23 Grand Slam titles she has won and the role model that she has become for women everywhere. People usually do not think about the outfits she wears while winning matches.
However, French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli clearly thinks more about her attire, as he made a new dress code, banning her legendary “Black Panther” catsuit that she wore during the French Open this year, from the competition next year, according to the New York Post.
“It will not be accepted. One must respect the game and the place,” Giudicelli said.
He added that William’s outfit became “too unique for tennis.”
William’s response was as classy as ever.
In an ESPN video, they showed her response. William’s said “The president of the French Federation, he’s been amazing. We have a wonderful relationship,” Williams said. I’ve since found other methods and when it comes to fashion, you don’t want to be a repeat offender.”
Though her response was calm and respectful, the uproar throughout the online media that followed was loud, passionate and powerful.
The Los Angeles Times responded, “Someone (or maybe everyone) should take to Twitter to remind the French Tennis Federation president that respect can’t be codified or demanded into existence. Like the 23 Grand Slam victories the new mother has under her red catsuit belt, it has to be earned."
Worldwide newspapers were not the only people to speak up. Even locally, people are outraged.
“Can you imagine the head of any sporting event telling ANY male athlete, let alone one of the world’s best athletes of all time, that they didn’t respect the game because of what they were wearing…” San Jose State alumna Lisa Ellis tweeted.
Many, like Ellis, argued that the dress code is not the problem, the respect of female athletes and their attire is the problem.
They also argued that male athletes would never be told what to wear, especially male athletes as successful as Serena Williams is in the sport of tennis.
Williams, a new mother, gave birth last September and dedicated her outfit to the women who have been through difficult
After her pregnancy, Williams suffered from blood clots and the compression of the cat suit supposedly helped with the circulation of blood in her body. She used the outfit to speak out, empower women and
especially mothers everywhere.
“All the moms out there that had a tough pregnancy and have to come back and try to be fierce, in the middle of everything,” Williams said. “That’s what this represents. You can’t beat a catsuit, right?” Williams said, according to the New York Post.
Serena Williams recently visited SJSU for the 2018 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic and is currently competing in the U.S. Open, and most would agree that what she has worn up until this point has been working out pretty well for her.