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Hoping for less D'oh and more woohoo!
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I found this nice article.

Jewel WoodsPosted February 27, 2009 | 03:24 PM (EST)

Venus and Serena Williams: Black and Beautiful On and Off The Court

Venus & Serena Williams continued their dominance this past weekend with Venus winning her 40th singles title in Dubai, after barely nudging past younger sister Serena in the semi-finals. The Williams Sisters have had extraordinary careers in Women's Professional Tennis, but many of their struggles for validation within their sport have occurred outside the tennis lines.

This fact was made obvious by the list of the 10 Most Beautiful Women posted on the official website of the 2009 Australian Open. A list filled with last names like Dementavia, Hantuchova, and based on "sleek", "thin", and/or lean figures, which by definition, excluded at least one of the William sisters -- even though neither sister was included on the list.

Of course, some will say, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." But, what if the standard of beauty was not "sleek" or "thin", but rather "thick" and "curvaceous"? Would the officials that posted the list still gush over Jelena Jancovic, touting her "number one body to go along with her number one looks." Gimme a break!

To anyone that has followed the career of the Williams sisters, it would appear that neither they, nor their family, especially their father -- are easily swayed by what that people in the tennis establishment say or think. If they were, Serena would not be opening a school in Kenya, writing her own manuscript, and developing a fashion line. Venus would not be the CEO of her own interior design firm, cultivating a dynamic client base from most reports, or developing her own clothing line.

However, we should all be concerned because black athletes have always dealt with their physical gifts being elevated above their mental gifts. Black male athletes in particular, are consistently praised for their physical prowess. Sports Illustrated can do an entire feature dedicated to gawking over Lebron James' body with poetic prose describing his "raised veins run like tiny interstates up his arms and calves."

Black female athletes, on the other hand, are put in the unique position where developing their bodies makes them the object of spectacle. For male athletes, the perennial insult is, "You play like a girl." For female athletes, the perennial insult is, "You look like a man." As a result, any girl, black or white -- who is involved in sports has to make choices that a boy never has to make.

We should also be concerned because in the same manner that it was deeply felt by African Americans when Don Imus infamously referred to black women as "nappy headed hos" we cannot assume that these constant slights and insults don't hurt. I have always wondered whether Serena's interest in fashion and beauty was somehow related to the way she constantly has to fend off criticism of her weight and questions about her commitment to her profession because she does not look like the women that she is playing against.

As the husband of a woman that looks like Venus and Serena it offends me that my standards of beauty are not recognized or validated in professional sports. And as the father of a six-year-old little black girl that loves to run, jump, sweat, grimace, grunt, and do all the things that are necessary for her to excel as an athlete, it pains me to think of the choices that will be forced upon her as she gets older because of these standards.

So, to the Williams sisters and their family I would like to say to you, most of us don't know the cost and sacrifice it takes to excel in a sport that has so few African Americans. Many of us had never heard of the tragic and triumphant story of Zina Garrison and her constant battles with depression stemming from bulimia -- a life threatening eating disorder that also affects women of color -- exacerbated by never being validated in the elite world of tennis.

However, I also want you to know that like our President Barak Obama, who wrote in his autobiography about taking a black women to see Ntozake Shange's play, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, that we understand black women's struggles for recognition in a culture that does not value black bodies and black beauty.

And to all the women and girls who are athletes; whether you play basketball, run track, play soccer, tennis, or some other sport; know that everything about you is beautiful!

"You Go Girls."

1,896 Posts
Very good article. Hopefully the standard of beauty will be a non-issue in the near future.
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