Williams’ catsuit has fallen under public scrutiny despite the fact that the suit was designed to help combat her blood clots.
Controversy surrounds Serena Williams, and not just for her recent loss in the U.S. Open. The catsuit that she wore to the French Open has been the subject of many an argument. On the one hand, catsuits are not the traditional outfit one wears to a tennis match. On the other, Williams needs the catsuit for her health.
When talking with Reuters.com, Williams confessed that she had been having trouble with blood clots, saying, “I don’t know how many I have had in the past 12 months.” The suit helps with her blood flow, she said, and that she needs it to keep playing.
However, the French Open had other ideas. “It will no longer be accepted. One must respect the game and the place,” said French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli. Not letting one of the most successful and phenomenal players in the world wear what she needs to continue playing the sport she loves is astoundingly disrespectful.
Serena has won each of the Grand Slam events and is a four-time Olympic Gold medalist. And yet, instead of wanting to keep this amazing player in the game, the French Open wants to control what she wears, therefore limiting how often she can play due to medical reasons.
These blood clots are not minor. After the birth of her daughter, Williams had a six-day medical crisis from blood clots in her lungs, which she says she almost died from, according to NPR. She needs this suit to simultaneously keep living healthily and play the sport she loves. Without it, she cannot do both for long.
This is not the only issue that Williams has had to deal with in her career in tennis. From being called a man to being compared to an animal, Williams has been persecuted in her sport. The racism surrounding these taunts is not to be overlooked, either. It is common for black women to be put down in their sports and told that they are too aggressive.
Williams is no exception. However, the jeers she has received have now bled over into her health. They are trying to stop her from playing the sport she loves. She should be able to wear the suit if she wants, as it is a necessity for her health.
It is not anymore revealing than any other outfit or uniform other players wear. If anything, it is less revealing! The need for rules or a dress code is understandable, but there should be exceptions for health needs.
Serena Williams should be allowed to wear her catsuit, and anything less is disrespectful to her.