Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Serena Williams is Not Fat

So this sexist sports columnist, Jason Whitlock, has a column on Fox Sports.com where we referred to Serena Williams as overweight and an underachiever (Jason Whitlock is a fat sports columnist for the record). He said she could reach Tiger Woods-esque fame if she would only focus more on tennis and stick to a healthy diet regiment. He said that mainstream media will not accept her as a sex symbol because she's heavy. He admits that she's been very successful in tennis but thinks she would completely dominate the sport if she lost 30 lbs.

This jerk was on the Dan Patrick Radio Show this afternoon justifying his column and he only dug himself a deeper hole. The worst part of the show was all the callers who were agreeing with him that she was fat. When was the last time a male athlete's weight was brought up in this way? Since when is wining multiple tournaments underachieving?

So according to the WTA website Serena is 5'9" and weighs 143 lbs. This information was entered into their database when she first started playing at 14. Obviously, she is no longer that height or weight but she has chosen not to update that information. Most estimates have her current weight somewhere between 170-185 lbs. According to healthy weight charts a woman that is 5'9" who has a large frame should weigh 149-170 lbs. So technically, yes Serena is probably at the far end of her healthy weight range or just over it. But what is her body fat percentage and body mass index? Does she have high blood pressure or any other medical problems that an overweight person has? When she runs there isn't a lot of jiggling going on outside of her chest and butt and that makes her curvy, not fat. I suspect that she is the picture of health based on how much she works out and how much muscle mass she has.

The problem is that the women who get a lot of attention from the media are skinny. Not thin but below average skinny. Two of Serena's opponents this past week were listed at 5'11" and had weights of 130 and 150 lbs. The healthy weight range for someone that height is any where from 135-176 depending on the size of their body frame. When Serena shakes hands with these girls at the end of a match she looks much bigger than them because of how muscular she is and how scrawny they are, not because she's fat. It pisses me off that the media's immediate response is that Serena must be too fat and not that her competitors might be too thin. If Serena is fat then sign me up for that!!

Let's be realistic, a black female sex symbol is just not going to happen in this country. Every year People, FHM and other magazines have their lists of the most beautiful people and there are predominantly thin white women. I remember Janet Jackson coming in at 90-something on the list one year and Scarlett Johansson being listed as first. Scarlett Johansson is very skinny. I don't know how tall she is but she is definitely underweight. When she wears a backless dress to the Oscars and you can see her ribs and her spine why isn't there mass media concern over that? When Ebony, Essence, Latina and other ethnic magazines create the same lists they have plenty of woman of normal size on their lists. Sure you have Halle Barre and Tyra Banks which get coverage in the mainstream media but they are definitely the exception. There are so many beautiful women out of there of all colors and sizes. It would be nice to see pop culture start to mirror the real world.

1 comment:

  1. The Williams sisters look great! The morons will always take potshots at champions. :(