Why this Serena Williams magazine cover has caused outrage

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.


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.


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.








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.

Serena during the US Open. Image: Getty

“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.”