A few days ago, Deborah Barros, who is running for a seat on the Alabama State Senate, tweeted “Funny how a black female tennis player is held to a higher standard to keep her emotions in check than a Supreme Court nominee.”
If you’ve been keeping up with any of what has been going on in the news in the last few months, you know that Serena Williams received a lot of flack for defending her honor and her career at the U.S. Open because she yelled at the referee. You probably also know that Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed into the Supreme Court — the highest court of law in the United States — after he raised his voice and choked up during his testimony.
In response to Barros’ tweet, Serena Williams’ husband and co-founder of Reddit, Alexis Ohanian, tweeted, “It’s not funny, it’s b——-.”
It’s so often that women of color are held to the standard that they are not able to do what their male counterparts can do, but the second a white man does it, it’s completely fine. In my last article about Padma Lakshmi, I talked about how nominating Brett Kavanaugh into office is America’s way of saying that it really doesn’t care about women, their rights or their health. I think that this same message holds through to this week, especially in talking about Williams being criticized for doing the same thing that Kavanaugh did, with the only difference being that Williams is a black female.
By and large, for women in this country, anything we do is going to be criticized. Women from all backgrounds and in all fields have probably faced this at one time or another, and it’s mostly because the society protects those who have the most power. In our case, it’s old, white men.
My biggest question has been, and probably always will be, why do very successful and well-liked women get pushed aside and looked down upon for defending their careers, whereas men who are also successful but generally disliked are represented well in the media? The last thing we need is for more people who don’t really know anything about what women need, how minorities are struggling to make a living or how immigrant communities are suffering from the lack of being able to even see their children to be in power.
This is not the first time Alexis defended his wife in the public eye. After her match against Naomi Osaka in the U.S. Open, Serena was publicly criticized for yelling at the referee, including the very racially-driven comic that headlined the news. Women are looked down upon in society, especially for standing up for themselves. To be completely real, it needs to stop. This same thing can be said about Christine Blasey Ford. A few weeks ago, she told the entire world about her experience as a survivor of sexual assault, and she was still criticized by the public.
I hope America realizes that what is happening is that our society is causing problems for the generations to come. I feel people will start understanding that representation is extremely vital for the progression of this country. Women are able to accomplish anything, and relying on factors such as gender and skin color are not viable options for judging a person’s ability to excel in their field.