Friday, January 18, 2008

Oh No He Didn't!

Looks like Don Imus has a rival in the Land Down Under. AOL Sports writer Michael David Smith reports "Australian Open Announcer More Interested in Venus Williams' Backside Than Her Backhand" as tennis coach Roger Rasheed decided instead of gearing his commentary towards Venus Williams' skills, he'd treat her as a modern Venus Hottentot:



Rasheed will not be punished by his employers. In fact, by the appearance of things, even some of the fans thought he merely sought to compliment Williams, failing to notice that his comments were beyond flirting or harmless flattery. Instead, what Rasheed did during the Open was clear sexual harassment. Imagine if he had commented on a male tennis player's penis size through his shorts. I can hear the fans now. Yet in this case, some fans even blamed Williams, an occurrence that happens all too often in cases of rape and sexual harassment. How many times have we all heard the "if she hadn't dressed like that..." excuse? Harassment, whether it be verbal or physical, that relates to a woman's sexuality, body, and appearance is never warranted. We live in a society we like to call modern, advanced, and civil, yet we always find a way to revert to some defective model of ourselves from the distant past. Why must some turn into cavemen when they see a beautiful woman?

Women should be proud of their bodies, and considering that Williams has worked damn hard for hers, not to mention, unlike some of her blond bombshell tennis-playing counterparts, she actually has the talent to back it all up (no pun intended). Venus is a role model to young women everywhere, especially young women of color who are few and far between on the courts. If anything, people should continue to laud Venus and her sister Serena for their talents on grass, clay, and concrete instead of speculating on their performance in the bedroom. I hope that the Williams sisters continue to keep their heads up and their goals high, and that they will not allow the idiocy of people like Rasheed interrupt their continued strive for excellence.

For more information on sexual harassment and what you can do if you or someone you know is a victim, please check out the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's guide or SexualHarassmentSupport.org.

- Wendi Muse

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think I understand what you're expressing.

I think all women in professional sports are subject to various degrees of sexual harrassment; and the "degree" is not the issue. It is that the intent and comment crossed the line of being offensive.

I also think that we shouldn't complicate the sexual harrassment issue by introducing comments that discriminate between colors. This seems to have been projected by the remark, "unlike some of her blond bombshell tennis-playing counterparts"

As people of any gender or race, we should rally against any form of sexual harrassment.

Wendi Muse said...

Anonymous,

I totally understand what you mean. I wasn't saying that the blonde tennis players (i was referring mainly to ana kournikova here) should be sexually harassed. I was using them as a comparison when it comes to talent. Kournikova doesn't have a winning record, where Williams does. Kournikova is known for her beauty and uses that to her advantage (as she has every right to) via commercials, modeling, etc, whereas Venus has gotten to where she has in both records and popularity due to her talent alone. She has not welcomed comments on her body or her appearance by using it to her advantage. Williams relies on her talent, whereas Kournikova's popularity is mainly a result of her appearance.

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