For black women, femininity and feminism are not mutually exclusive

Serena Williams, the world’s most successful female tennis star, is constantly denigrated for not being feminine enough. Her body has been dissected in countless articles—the size of her buttocks, her muscular arms, and legs—and she has been accused of steroid use. She and her sister Venus have been mocked as “the Williams brothers.” When other women players were asked if they were willing to become more muscular to improve their tennis game, many said no, insisting they wanted to still look like women—the glaring implication being that the Williams sisters’ strength makes them unwomanly.

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For black women, femininity and feminism are not mutually exclusive

Serena Williams, the world’s most successful female tennis star, is constantly denigrated for not being feminine enough. Her body has been dissected in countless articles—the size of her buttocks, her muscular arms, and legs—and she has been accused of steroid use. She and her sister Venus have been mocked as “the Williams brothers.” When other women players were asked if they were willing to become more muscular to improve their tennis game, many said no, insisting they wanted to still look like women—the glaring implication being that the Williams sisters’ strength makes them unwomanly.

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