After Saturdays womens tennis match at the U.S. Open Im beginning to question my qualifications as a feminist.
In my mind, the umpire rightly penalized Serena Williams when he spotted her coach signaling her instructions from the stands an infraction of tournament rules. He was also right to penalize Williams for bashing her racket after a disappointing game, and then again when she lit into him and called him a liar and a thief for which he docketed her a game for verbal abuse.
Williams claimed the ref was sexist, and would never penalize a man for the same behavior.
Tennis great and feminist Billie Jean King agreed, saying when a woman vents emotionally, men interpret it as hysterical and cant handle it, but when a man has an outburst hes regarded as outspoken, and is given a pass.
Billie Jean knows better. John McEnroes tirades from the 1980s were hyperbolic, profane and that of a brat. And he deserved every penalty he got.
Williams was upset because she was losing, badly, and instead of using that emotion to lift her level of play she used the referee as her scapegoat.
SERENAS coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, admitted he was signaling Serena to go up to the net, but defended the action by saying everyone does it.
Until the rules change, Mouratoglou was in error and should, ahem, take it like a man instead of putting Serena in the position of having to act like it didnt happen.
After the match Serena defended her theatrics by saying she was paving the way for future generations of women by standing up to men who treat them unfairly.
Sorry, but there was no redeeming factor to her behavior.
If it were any other sport softball, baseball, soccer or basketball Serenas behavior would have had her on the outside looking in with no second chances.
I LOVE seeing women break the glass ceiling in sports, business and politics, and Serena has done wonders for women, especially those of color. But on the court shes just another player and should want to be treated as such.
Perhaps thats why people love sports so much. Its a great leveler, where the best athlete or team, no matter their status, wins. And thats what feminism is about. Its about being fair and getting fair treatment, no matter your gender.