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Serena Williams Refuses to Smile for the Camera

A smile is a gesture we share with other people in order to express genuine happiness, but, of course, you probably already knew this. Smiles are powerful in that they almost always brighten your or someone else’s day. However, being told to smile when you are not happy or don’t feel a smile is necessary can be frustrating and annoying.

These types of situations can quickly become uncomfortable, especially when a man tells a woman she should smile and be happy. Not only are comments like that uncalled for, but they are also condescending. No matter how innocent the statement is the comment tends to take on a sexualized meaning. Such statements often make women feel that they are only meant to be happy, pretty, and passive.

A video of tennis star Serena Williams, who beat her sister Venus Williams in the U.S. Open Quarterfinals, recently went viral after she shut down a journalist’s question at a press conference.

The male reporter made the mistake of asking Williams why she looked so tired after winning a match. He said, “You just won a match. Normally you smile when you win. You come in here, you laugh. What happens tonight? Is it because you beat Venus or because you’re thinking about what is going on next? What’s wrong?”

Her answer was brilliant and brutally honest. Williams made it clear that she didn’t want to attend this press conference and that she was exhausted. She said, “To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t want to be here. I just want to be in bed right now and I have to wake up early to practice. I don’t want to answer any of these questions, and you guys keep asking me the same questions. It’s not really … you’re not making it super enjoyable.

She then added, “Just being honest.”

Since her career began, Williams has also gotten a lot of negative comments about her body. She even appeared on Good Morning America to let her haters know that she is proud of her body and won’t let them take her down.

She said, “I love that I’m a full woman and I am strong, and I’m powerful, and I’m beautiful at the same time, and there’s nothing wrong like that. I don’t have time to be brought down.”

Williams has also admitted that she has tried to keep from reading articles about herself since she won her first Grand Slam in 1999. She does this mostly because she didn’t need or want the negative energy that came with them.

Williams also added that her opinion is the only one that matters to her in the end. She told Fader Magazine, “People have been talking about my body for a really long time. Good things, great things, negative things. People are entitled to have their opinions, but what matters most is how I feel about me, because that’s what’s going to permeate the room I’m sitting in. It’s going to make you feel that I have confidence in myself whether you like me or not, or you like the way I look or not, if I do.”

We can’t wait to watch what else Serena Williams has in store for us. After all, she has said, “I’ve got too many things to do. I have Grand Slams to win, I have people to inspire, and that’s what I’m here for.

Featured Image by Doha Stadium Plus Qatar on Flickr
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Janice Henshaw

    August 12, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Great article, it’s so inspiring to see an amazing woman who’s so proud of herself,
    so confident, as well as so inspiring to other women and girls, speak her mind.
    Thank you,

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