Serena Williams Sparks the Conversation: Sexism within Sports

Serena Williams' match against Naomi Osaka during the 2018 U.S. Open ended in controversy when Serena demanded an apology from umpire Carlos Ramos. Serena claims the umpire was unfairly hard on her when she was fouled three times, ultimately costing her the game. This not only riled up the crowd, but also gained worldwide attention and press. During the interview directly after the game, Serena spoke out to the issue that male tennis players do not get fouled nearly as much for the same kind of behavior.

This sparked the conversation that has been taking headlines ever since- sexism within professional sports. WTA chef Steve Simon expressed that the empire showed Williams a “different level of tolerance over Saturday’s outbursts than if she had been a man.” This is also just one example of many day-to-day encounters female athletes face when dealing with sexism. After this first tennis match, Serena became the leading voice in the fight for equality for women in professional sports. This incident not only re-introduced a conversation about how female athletes are treated during a game but also about how they’re depicted in the media. On Sunday, the Melbourne, Australia published an immensely offensive cartoon of Serena throwing a tantrum on the court. This implies that Serena’s vocal frustration with the umpire, (something that happens all the time with male athletes) was merely seen as a tantrum a toddler would throw. This doesn't just de-legitimize female athletes but also makes the accusation that women’s beliefs and frustrations are not valid.

During Williams’ press-interview directly after the game, it was clear that Williams frustration was focused towards the umpire and not her opponent, Naomi Osaka, who beat her 6-2, 6-4. Serena Williams explained “She played an amazing match and she deserved credit. She deserved to win.”