KARACHI: The controversy surrounding tennis star Serena Williams has once again shown how differently the world reacts to behaviour of a woman to that of a man. Williams got a point penalty after she had thrashed her racket on the ground to show her frustration during the game. On confronting the umpire for penalising her, she called him ‘thief’ and a ‘liar’, because of which she got a game penalty that probably cost her US Open win.

It is pertinent to note that male tennis players have said worse things to umpires or shown their frustration on court in different ways during a match, but never have they been penalised for it. But for Williams — or other women like her — it is not okay to show anger on court.

When a man does the same, many often say ‘look how passionate he is’ but when a woman does the same, she is called ‘hysterical’ or ‘angry’, and in Williams case

her gender and her race unfortunately did not work in her favour. She is reduced to the trope of a Black angry woman for being confident enough to be angry or frustrated on court. It is no surprise that the sphere of sports is filled with sexist and racist remarks, but this shouldn’t refrain one from calling out such an attitude. Williams rightly called out the gender bias prevalent in sports and we should stand by her to ensure that such attitudes change.

Ramsha Jhangir

Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2018.

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