Reading some of the remarks made about Williams’s curves, it would be easy to think you were privy to the observations of circus attendees gawking at an unfamiliar body, as opposed to journalists and sports commentators.
My tiny voice is only in awe of Serena Williams (and her sister Venus, too, frankly) and the way they play the sport.
In the 70′s and 80’s, my dad was quite good in amateur tennis tournaments and he played for hours every day. And he tried to teach my sister and me to play. My sister was better than I was–I was much too afraid of the ball to get even competent. But I still remember struggling to learn. Wanting to make my body do athletic things, to coordinate competently, to return Dad’s held-way-back service. Not just to make Dad happy but also because I wanted to be good at something.
So if, when I talk about how amazing and awesome Serena Williams is as an athlete and I feel the need to talk about irrelevant things, my tiny voice is only going to bring in my nostalgic anecdotes about my dad, that awful Texas sun, and Kate being better at something again. I won’t add irrelevant opinions about Williams’ body or her value as a person based on her shape or size or the expectations of women’s bodies that have permeated my entire life.
I want to be one tiny voice not adding racist, sexist, demeaning or misogynist comments about my impressions of Williams’ body. Enough tiny voices and the background noise changes.
Everything is baby steps.