Serena Williams and The Bodysuit Part II: The Outrage Sequel Nobody Asked For

After a successful comeback in 2018 after giving birth and almost losing her life in the process, Serena Williams broke no one’s expectations (because, if someone could do it it is her) when she came back at Roland-Garros and made it to the round of 16. She did it in a bodysuit which she wore because of her blood clots issues and which Nike designed specifically for her, for recovery purposes. The last time she wore a catsuit (at the 2002 US Open), it undoubtedly caught people’s attention, too. But now, the French Tennis Federation’s president, Bernard Giudicelli, has declared that it was not respectful. Giudicelli is quoted as saying:

“I believe we have sometimes gone too far. Serena’s outfit this year, for example, would no longer be accepted.”

Giudicelli claims disrespect and decorum. He notes that the outfit diminishes the sport, because beauty (or at least aesthetics) enhances the experience of watching the sport: “If I pass an emotion with something that is beautiful in a place that is beautiful, the emotion is magnified.”

Is the disrespect claimed by the president justified? Or are these subjective and targeted remarks that imply a certain disdain for a certain body on a playing surface traditionally restricted and restrictive to such bodies?

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