On Saturday, the New York Times came under fire after publishing an article talking about body image issues among female tennis players.
The article, which seemed to be criticizing Serena Williams for her physique, focused on women in the sport who did not look like Williams.
Williams “has large biceps and a mold-breaking muscular frame, which packs the power and athleticism that have dominated women’s tennis for years. Her rivals could try to emulate her physique, but most of them choose not to,” according to the report.
However, the article says, many players’ body image issues force them to shy away from Williams’ look.
Tomasz Wiktorowski, the coach of Agnieszka Radwanska, 5 feet 8 and 123 pounds, says, “It’s our decision to keep her as the smallest player in the top 10. Because, first of all she’s a woman, and she wants to be a woman.”
But many on Twitter believe that the article is tone deaf at best, with several pointing out the racial undertones in the description of Williams as animal-like.
“This black people as ‘beast’ thing needs to go down with the #ConfederateFlag,” one Twitter user posted.
Another said, “If you think it’s JUST about looks you’re missing the racism of the article. And the white aesthetics it worships.”
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 10, 2015
@nytimes really? Because the only women worth emulating are tiny white girls who attract the gaze of men watching tennis for other reasons?
— Shauna M. Ahern (@glutenfreegirl) July 11, 2015
What's fascinating is that the article attempts to normalize/glorify white mediocrity, sexism, and body image pathology @nytimes
— Doc Ock (@OckyJ83) July 11, 2015
If you think it's JUST about looks you're missing the racism of the article. And the white aesthetics it worships.
— Rod (@rodimusprime) July 11, 2015
— a. rye✊🏾 (@angela_rye) July 11, 2015