What should have been a joyous celebration of elite female athleticism and badassery, is instead mired in controversy.
“I can’t believe no one at GQ thought perhaps with misogynistic and violent trans insults that Serena (and Venus) have dealt with for the last almost 20 years, to not put woman in quotation marks,” one person commented.
“Editorial rooms are a f***ing disaster, all over this country. I’m offended for her.”
Another person wrote: “@GQMagazine decided to put woman in quotes on Serena’s cover and I too am offended and disgusted knowing the gender slights and digs people still throw at @serenawilliams.”
Others defended Abloh’s design and were quick to point out that quotation marks are a trademark of Abloh’s work.
“It was handwritten by Virgil Abloh of Off-White, who has styled everything in quotation marks as of late (see Serena’s US Open apparel that he designed),” one person wrote.
The black tutu dress Williams wore to the U.S. open was designed by Abloh in collaboration with Nike, which featured the word logo in the same style. Abloh also used this same word design on limited-edition bottles of champagne, puffer jackets and trainers.
Still, people argued that more thought should have gone into GQ’s use of quotations in this instance.
Last year, Williams shared an open letter to her mother on Reddit, in which she addressed the offensive jabs regarding her body.
“I’ve been called [a] man because I appeared outwardly strong,” she wrote.
“It has been said that that I use drugs. (No, I have always had far too much integrity to behave dishonestly in order to gain an advantage).
It has been said I don’t belong in women’s sports – that I belong in men’s – because I look stronger than many other women do. (No, I just work hard and I was born with this badass body and proud of it).”
We’re proud of you too, Serena!