Let Serena, Alizé and All Women Wear What They Want: The Mountain Giving Birth

The tennis authorities are running amok. Getting all up in women’s business about their clothing. Seriously? —a full-coverage compression catsuit and a glimpse of a woman’s utilitarian sports bra have sent them scurrying to their rulebooks.

 A mountain about to give birth raised such a hue and cry that everyone who came running at the screams thought she was going to give birth to nothing less than a city bigger than Paris.

 She gave birth to a mouse. 

When I think of this fable, of course the story lies, but the meaning is true, I imagine those authors who say:

I’ll sing of the wars waged by the Titans against the god of thunder.

That’s promising a lot. But what is the most common result?

Some wind.

What a hue and cry there’s been from the French Open, where ex post facto its federation president Bernard Giudicelli decided that he couldn’t have anything as practical as a catsuit on the court, for fear of disrespecting the sport. Then the U.S. Open saw fit to sanction Alizé Cornet for exposing her utterly-un-notable black sports bra, as she quick-reversed a shirt she had accidentally put on backwards. Why? Because it’s so hot that the players have to change out of their sweat-soaked outfits on breaks. Well actually, only the women do, because the men can change their shirts, exposing their bare chests, whenever they want. (The U.S. Open has conceded and adjusted its rules about when and where women can change, suggesting a more private spot courtside. Private? It’s a sports bra, not lingerie!)

Let’s be clear—these women are serious, professional athletes. They are dressed to win.

The tennis powers have clearly let their authority go to their head. They seem to think they are singing of Titans and great wars, giving birth to a large metropolis; protecting the virtue of tennis from the imminent threat of strong women wearing what works best for them on the tennis court.

I’ve written about this in prosaic form on Fit Is A Feminist Issue: Let Women Wear What They Want and Is tennis trying to win a chauvinism/misogyny award?

I feel the tennis mountain’s huff-and-puff wind on my cheek. Oh, and I’m not turning my other cheek! It’s time for respect and equality for women on the tennis court.

In the meantime, I dream of male tennis players showing up to play in catsuits, in solidarity with their female peers.


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