You are currently viewing From Serena Williams To Sania Mirza : Shaming Sportswomen Has Never Stopped

From Serena Williams To Sania Mirza : Shaming Sportswomen Has Never Stopped

Most recently, Serena Williams was asked by the French Open officials to not wear her catsuit because ‘players must respect the game and the place’

Serena Williams, one of the greatest athletes of all times, winning her first grand slam in a black catsuit since she gave birth, was defining feminism all over again.  However the French tennis Federation thought the players “must respect the game and the place”, banning the catsuits for future French opens.  The catsuit she wore on court was especially designed functional bodysuit to cope with the blood clots that implicated her life while giving birth. Serena Williams has taken the sartorial high ground while dealing with the whole incident. Addressing the media she stated unfazed that everything was fine.


Be it racist comments, mockery of her body, animal comparisons or distasteful commentary, there seem to be an incessant need to criticize her, because of some unfathomable reason. How else would you try to make it hard for a woman at the top of her game? The response might make some argue that it’s like playing the racism/ sexism card again but given the history of how Williams’ sisters have been treated, suggests otherwise.


In 2014, Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpischev called Venus and Serena Williams “the Williams Brothers,” a statement for which he was fined $25,000.Because no matter how much progress we make in terms of time, the ideal beauty standards for women don’t change. They continue to be the weak, fragile, vulnerable image of women, as constricted as the Victorian corsets.

Mithali Raj  Image Courtesy: Twitter/ Official account

The three-time Olympian, Cheryl Haworth, who won a bronze medal in the super heavyweight division in 2000 at age 17, was another one who dealt with body shaming. She said it was hard for people to understand that bigger people can be elite athletes.” The bigger you are, the more invisible you are”.

Sania Mirza (left); Jwala Gutta(right)  Image courtesy: Twitter/official accounts

Back home, the sexist attack on the Indian women cricket team’s captain, Mithali Raj, when she posted a selfie on twitter, highlighted the low level scrutiny sportswomen must endure. While some expressed their expert opinion on her top, others slut shamed her followed by hate mails. Earlier, tennis star Sania Mirza was pressurized by the orthodox groups to ‘cover up’ and international badminton player Jwala Gutta have also been trolled for their dressing sense.


Despite their personal achievements in their respective fields, women are often reduced to their bodies and despite everything women have fought back fiercely to reclaim their rights.