Since Serena Williams’ US Open final against Japan’s Naomi Osaka, everywhere you look there are images of Williams mid-dispute with the chair umpire. Whether it’s a photo from the match or a toxic recreation of the scene, the intention is to portray her as unreasonably aggressive.
We’ve seen a whole lot of Serena Williams pointing a finger in frustration and absolutely nothing of the warmth and support shown to her winning opponent Osaka.
Not to say that Serena Williams isn’t allowed to be angry. Between the condemnation of her on-court outfit, refusal to seed her, and the targeting her for especially-frequent drug testing, Williams has plenty of tennis-specific issues to be angry about. Plus players reacting to umpire calls is normal.
Women, especially black women, have their anger censored all the time. Women are called crazy and melodramatic when they express valid anger. Black people have their rage weaponised against them as confirmation of racial stereotypes.
Serena Williams is not an angry caricature, and she was not a sore loser. You just need to look at the rest of the story.
Here is Serena Williams being the furthest thing from a ‘sore loser’.
Here she is excited for her opponent’s victory.
Instead of turning Naomi Osaka into a faceless prop, we can enjoy these photos of women supporting each other.
Also here is Williams absolutely slaying on court lest we forget amidst the mess that she is the world’s greatest athlete thank you very much.
Are we meant to believe that Serena Williams is a belligerent monster because she got angry? Nah. Here is a photo of her after losing the match.
These are the photos we didn’t see so that Serena Williams could be turned into a stereotype.
It’s easy to reduce Serena Williams to a racist and sexist caricature when you don’t show the whole story.