Unless you’ve been living in a cave with no reception, you would have heard all the commotion at the U.S. Open Women’s Finals and the legend that is Serena Williams losing her shit over a “stolen” point, not getting coached, then breaking her racquet and getting fined for her behaviour.
Image Credit: South China Morning Post
Serena cried sexism and a world media storm ensued.
A few media outlets found it in their heart to try and focus on the fact that there was another aspect to the cuffafle at the finals – Naomi Osaka. Yes, the woman on the other end of the court, the one that ended up taking home the bigger trophy that night.
Image Credit: The Australian
Naomi is a 20 year old player, who holds dual citizenship with both Japan (where she was born) and the States (where she was raised).
She has identified Serena Williams as her hero, worked hard her whole life to get to that final match with said hero and what did she get for all that?
The head controls the body
As you all know, I was a semi-professional tennis player myself (when I was 11, I attended a couple of tournaments for fun), and there’s one thing that time taught me – tennis is 80% brain power.
I have been in matches that I was leading so spectacularly, it would take a hurricane for me to lose. But turns out that the hurricane lived in my head and I chocked so many times that I can’t even count my own failings, much to the dismay of my coach.
It seems to me that Naomi’s phenomenal performance and fight for the match of her life, set off Serena’s mental hurricane and the rest is now sports history.
You may completely agree with Serena’s viewpoint and her reaction that night. Perhaps she’s not wrong in claiming sexism and unfair treatment because she’s a woman.
But it’s obvious that Serena’s ego took over as she saw the score falling in the wrong direction. Emotions got high when she realised the final was slipping away from her and by someone who she thought she could eat alive.
Image Credit: The Australian
But for all of Serena’s claims that she is not being treated right because she’s a woman, choosing that exact moment to express her feminist views was the irony that was lost on her.
Because on the other side of that court was a young woman, a Japanese woman, representing a country that has never, EVER seen a U.S. Open Women’s champion!
A woman who worked her ass off to get to where she was, just to be completely ignored and booed, by a crowd, which was riled up by her feminist opponent.
Image Credit: Sporting News
Naomi even apologises for her success during her acceptance speech, saying “I know that everyone was cheering for (Williams) and I’m sorry it had to end like this. I want to say thank you for watching the match.”
That’s how she accepted the highest achievement of her life, feeling ashamed and disowned by the world for her powerful performance because her hero threw a tantrum.
And that’s exactly what it was, a tantrum. I see that type of behaviour from my toddler when I refuse to give her ice cream for dinner.
What Serena Williams highlighted with her outburst was that no matter what us women believe in, no matter how much we consider ourselves true feminists, we always put ourselves first, even if that means dragging someone else down for our own perceived benefit.
Casting Stones from a Glass House
I am not exempt from these conflicting feelings myself.
Recently, I asked my sister in law, Sarah, to write me an article for The Blog of Bildo. I knew she had great stories to tell and I could tell she had a passionate writer inside of her.
Read her great article here!
But before I asked her, I pondered the following: how will I feel if she is more successful than I am? What if her post goes viral when none of mine have? Could I deal with that blow to my ego?
That’s what the real problem was, that internal voice that was too scared to prop another woman up in case she achieves better results.
Becoming a mother
I’ve never much thought about my role as a woman. All my life, I have focused on my role as a human being. Being kind to others and being inclusive of all people.
I’ve always surrounded myself with friends who didn’t consider my sex, rather, whether I was a decent person and what my contribution would be at picnics.
But in battling my own ego, I decided that I want to teach my daughters that supporting other women is the change I want to make in the world. The success of Sarah’s post was a reflection on me as well – her success is my success.
This is the message I want to teach my daughters, the future women of the world.
That women supporting each other in any way they can is the key to sisterhood. I want to teach them not to lose the key by battling other women.
Instead, I want them to find the door, build their house around it and have some amazing pajama parties!