By Manavi Nag
As per the Oxford dictionary sexism is “prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.”
The women’s tennis US Open final took place, on September 9th in New York City. 23-time grand slam winner Serena Williams was up against 20 years old, Japanese, Naomi Osaka. The match seemed to be extremely one-sided however the match was anything but smooth sailing.
Serena Williams is one of the world’s most famous tennis player and an idol for many young girls across the globe. In the US Open final, Serena was aiming for a record-tying 24th grand slam win. However, during the final Serena had a complete meltdown in a series of unruly and uncivilised events.
Sexism is a serious and inexcusable offence, however dropping and excusing one of such a heavy and unacceptable offence, to justify your personal actions, takes away from the weight of the word.
Firstly, she had received coaching on the court, which is a strict violation. She received her first warning from umpire Carlos Ramos. Williams completely denied the claim saying “You owe me an apology. I have a daughter and stand to what’s right for her!”. However, after the match, Williams’ coach admitted to giving Serena signals however later explained that she didn’t see. Secondly, out of sheer frustration and anger of losing a point, Serena thrust the racket onto the pitch with almighty force causing it to bend. This too is a clear violation and was yet again was given her 2nd and final warning. At this moment, the point went to her opponent, as it was her 2nd warning. And then finally she reached her breaking point and just snapped. She yelled at the umpire in a complete derogatory matter “You will never be on another court of mine as long as you live. You’re the liar. When are you giving me my apology? Say it! Say you’re sorry! You stole a point from me, you’re a thief too.” Her words were clear verbal abuse and the words you wouldn’t hear come out of a 36-year-old mother, of a 5-year-old child. She was penalized with the whole game (set) going to her opponent. Although throughout the match Osaka was dominant, Williams’ fate for the match was sealed as runner-up. But this was not the end of it. After the match, during a conference, she blatantly accused the umpire of sexism. “There are men out there that do a lot worse than me, but because I am a woman you’re going to take this away from me!” She said other things like “this is an example for the next person that has emotions, that wants to express themselves and wants to be a strong woman.” She then explained, “I’m going to continue to fight for women and to fight for us to have equality.” “I have seen other men calling other umpires several things!” she continued. This wasn’t the first time Serena spoke to umpires in a disparaging manner. In 2009, Serena shouted at the female umpire over an altercation, in a match she was losing. She screamed, “I swear to god, I will f—— take the ball and shove it down your f—— throat.” In 2011, Williams told another female umpire “If you ever see me walking down the hall, look the other way. You’re a hater and unattractive inside”. Serena Williams was fined $17,000 for her explicit acts. She congratulated her opponent, however, the main spotlight was on Serena’s side of the court. Sexism is a serious and inexcusable offence, however dropping and excusing one of such a heavy and unacceptable offence, to justify your personal actions, takes away from the weight of the word. Are the umpire’s actions really coherent with the definition of “sexism”? Or is Serena just a sore loser? And take this as a lesson in your life, maybe not on global T.V but in your everyday life, don’t slip heavy words, with large, serious and extremely topical meanings in light and funny contexts, because it takes away from the weight of the word and takes away from the extent and drastic level of its meaning.