Glam Gal over at A Glam Slam has posted about the controversy over Venus Williams’ Australian Open dress which apparently is not quite a dress. I haven’t seen all that much of the Open yet this year what with the odd hours of television coverage and the fact that I’m not all that excited about watching men’s five setters. So I haven’t seen Venus’s attire. I’m generally not a fan of her outfits, but that just means we don’t share the same fashion sense. Neither here nor there.
But the commentators love to talk about them and whether they are inappropriate and/or ill-fitting. Glam Gal posted the commentators’ discussion:
John McEnroe: “I think that dress has distracted [Venus].”
Dick Enberg: “It’s distracting you.”
McEnroe: “That’s a fair point.”
Enberg: “It sounds like it might be a distraction to her opponent.”
McEnroe: “Well, she’s tugging at it. She’s uncomfortable with it.”
Mary Carillo: “She uses that fabric a lot in her designs, John. And for the last couple of years we’ve seen her have to correct her outfit after every point.”
As Carillo notes, Venus has been tugging on her clothes for a long time. I can recall when she was still with Reebok and wore that blue and black top at the US Open one year that a keyhole in the front that she was always tugging up.
A few points. One, Venus still manages to win matches, Grand Slams even–throughout her tugging phases. Amazing! In other words, this isn’t really an issue for anyone other than the commentators looking to construct a story.
Two, those short shorts that people seem so concerned about–even though they are black this time and not nude as they were in France and NYC last year–they look remarkably similar to the short shorts that female intercollegiate volleyball players wear–and sometimes tug at. So if you think Venus is a bad role model because she’s showing a lot of leg, well someone should talk to whomever is mandating the uniforms in intercollegiate volleyball, not to mention the aptly named butt-huggers that female runners wear in competition. (Note that the men in both of these respective sports wear shorts that are longer.)
And finally, the tugging. Andy Roddick tugs at his shirt sleeve after every point. Every point. No one is calling that distracting to him or others. No one is suggesting–besides me and, I think, my mother–that he get a better-fitting shirt. And of course there is Nadal’s tugging at the back of his shorts, aka picking his wedge. Has anyone suggested–aloud on television–that he get bigger shorts? (And if someone has, PLEASE let me know because I want to track that down.) Even if someone has mentioned it, we’re not talking about it every time Nadal shows up in a new outfit at a Grand Slam. And, of course, the most infamous of all the tugging: Jimmy Connors tugging at his crotch after (nearly) every point. Should we go back, watch some old matches and count how often Connors touched his junk???
So the white men can tug wherever and however much they want without constant critique but not a black woman apparently.