GQ magazine named Serena Williams as their ‘Woman of the Year’ for the ‘Man of the Year’ issue. This is the second year in a row that the international magazine has gone for a woman on the cover of such an issue. This time, though, the publication’s editorial choice on the cover has left some readers less than pleased with the magazine’s intentions.
The magazine announced Michael B. Jordan, Henry Golding and Jonah Hill were its Men of the Year, and that the all-time tennis great Serena was its sole Woman of the Year – but the decision to put the word “woman” in quotes, as handwritten by designer and Williams collaborator, Virgil Abloh, is turning some heads on Twitter.
“[GQ] 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 [Serena],” one person tweeted.
Someone I follow pointed out that @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. https://t.co/um9oYV6Pr0
— I’m That Type Of Guy (@Marrrrcussss) 12 November 2018
“They really put ‘woman’ in quotes in reference to Serena and no one at the table thought it was a bad idea,” another user added. “I’m speechless.”
They really put “Woman” in quotes in reference to Serena and no one at the table thought it was a bad idea. I’m speechless.
— King Wizard (@ChrisTheHuman_) 12 November 2018
Meanwhile, writer E. Alex Jung left a simple comparison image do the talking. She put last year’s cover woman Gal Gadot next to Serena’s this year to emphasise her point.
— E. Alex Jung (@e_alexjung) 12 November 2018
Gadot was referred to as “Wonder Woman of the Year” in last year’s issue while Williams is referred to as “the champion” in this year’s edition.
“You KNOW this cover had to be approved by a team of people and they all thought the quotes were fine,” someone stated in reply to the comparison. “What the f***?” “God why the quotes?????” queried another user.
Serena’s career has seen plenty of controversies where she’s been forced to field off questions over her physical attributes and colour. Last year, in a post on Reddit, Williams opened up about being “called a man” due to her appearance. “I’ve been called man because I appeared outwardly strong,” she wrote in a post addressed to her mother. “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).”
Earlier in May, Serena, now a mother, opened up about the same issue in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar. “People would say I was born a guy, all because of my arms, or because I’m strong,” she said. “I was different to Venus: She was thin and tall and beautiful, and I am strong and muscular — and beautiful, but, you know, it was just totally different.”