Serena Williams Outfit Controversy 🎾

Christian Hartmann / Reuters

Christian Hartmann / Reuters

Catsuit ban

At the 2018 French Open tennis tournament, Serena Williams decided to wear a Black Panther-inspired all-black "catsuit" (see here). French officials later announced that the catsuit would be banned going forward. 

Outcry over the decision

The decision to ban the catsuit immediately ruffled some feathers. Various outlets reported that the decision was sexist, racist, or simply elitist. Serena followed up her catsuit with a tutu outfit at the U.S. Open tournament currently taking place in NYC.


CNN: Serena Williams is being policed for her blackness

Vox: The Serena Williams catsuit ban shows that tennis can’t get past its elitist roots


Those who believe the ban is ridiculous point out that Serena was wearing the catsuit primary for health reasons since they help with her blood clots. They say the decision could be racially motivated and position it as a way for men to tell women what to wear. They note that French officials offered no real explanation for the ban and that this is just another example of elitism in tennis. 


The Citizen: Nadal backs French Open dress code plan after Serena row

Tennis World: Rafael Nadal backs French Open dress code after Serena Williams case

Those who believe the ban is justified point out that tennis has rules and regulations (just like any other sport). They specifically call out another tennis superstar, Rafael Nadal, who says the ban is ok. They quote Nadal who points out that the Wimbledon tournament has an all-white dress code so why can't the French Open set rules they want for their tournament?

A big deal for nothing?

Numerous outlets jumped on this story to provide their version of why this catsuit ban was such a huge injustice to Serena. Serena herself said, "Everything is fine, guys" brushing off the whole spectacle and actually praising the French officials. The media will take any opportunity it can to make a big deal out of nothing. Why? Clicks. If Serena didn't think this was a big deal, why are we all so bothered by it?

Queen of tennis has spoken



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