GQ magazine has sparked an angry backlash after featuring Serena Williams on its latest cover.
The magazine announced its annual men of the year on Monday, unveiling three covers for each man – Michael B. Jordan, Henry Golding and Jonah Hill.
They also announced their woman of the year, which just so happened to be tennis superstar Serena Williams.
Announcing GQ's Men (and Woman) of the Year 2018: @michaelb4jordan, @henrygolding, @jonahhill, and @serenawilliams (featuring handwriting by @virgilabloh) https://t.co/EpG3lKCJ3r #GQMOTY pic.twitter.com/6MgczSxSpq
— GQ Magazine (@GQMagazine) November 12, 2018
However that’s not what’s sparked the outrage.
It’s GQ’s decision to put the word woman in quotation marks on Serena’s cover that’s infuriated fans.
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) November 12, 2018
Serena’s cover has ‘man of the year’ written on it, with the word man crossed out and replaced with the word woman.
However the word woman is written with quotes around it, and that hasn’t sat well with fans.
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) November 12, 2018
Someone I follow pointed out that @GQMagazine decided to put woman in quotes on Serena's cover and I too am offended and disgusted knowing the gender slights and digs people still throw at @serenawilliams. https://t.co/um9oYV6Pr0
— I'm That Type Of Guy (@Marrrrcussss) November 12, 2018
They really put "Woman" in quotes in reference to Serena and no one at the table thought it was a bad idea. I'm speechless.
— King Wizard (@ChrisTheHuman_) November 12, 2018
i just wanna know why virgil put "woman" in quotation marks on a serena williams cover.
— king crissle (@crissles) November 12, 2018
I’m surprised that Serena actually approved the “Woman” of the year. I actually curious to know why the need for quotation marks. pic.twitter.com/ywAgiYMh0a
— Shasha 🌻 (@Shasha_Marie12) November 12, 2018
Serena Williams is a woman, not a “woman” pic.twitter.com/lneQkHEqHA
— FullMakeup Alchemist (@jaysc0) November 12, 2018
I wish they hadn’t put woman in quotation marks but Serena looks great. pic.twitter.com/xE9lY5Ux53
— Nichole ✨✨✨ (@tnwhiskeywoman) November 12, 2018
The word woman was actually handwritten by Louis Vuitton designer Virgil Abloh, who designed Serena’s tutu dress for the US Open.
So what’s the fuss about?
The reason why some are unhappy that she’s been referred to as a ‘woman’ (in quotation marks) boils down to the hate she routinely cops about her gender.
In 2017, Serena opened up about being “called a man” because of her strong appearance.
“I’ve been called man because I appeared outwardly strong,” she wrote in a post addressed to her mother.
“It has been said that that I use drugs (No, I have always had far too much integrity to behave dishonestly in order to gain an advantage). It has been said I don’t belong in Women’s sports — that I belong in Men’s — because I look stronger than many other women do. (No, I just work hard and I was born with this badass body and proud of it).”
She also addressed the issue in May.
“People would say I was born a guy, all because of my arms, or because I’m strong,” she told Harper’s Bazaar.
“I was different to Venus: She was thin and tall and beautiful, and I am strong and muscular — and beautiful, but, you know, it was just totally different.”