Serena Williams is on one of several covers for ESPN magazine this month. There have been comments going around on various websites about this cover that run the gamut of opinions. What's interesting is that the negative comments I have seen are coming mostly from black women. Comments such as Serena's being exploitated by white men, she's whoring herself out, she has fallen into the trap of showin' naked ass, she's reduced herself to a sexual object and thus can no longer be a role model, etc.
Others have rightly pointed out white women who have posed nude for magazines and have been called graceful, beautiful, artistic, etc. Serena's cover is posed pretty much the same way as these and yet she doesn't get these same comments.
I personally don't see how you can look at this cover and not see a celebration of a well-sculpted human form that has served as the foundation for greatness in sport. She looks BEAUTIFUL here. All that chocolatey, dazzling skin with her curves is just stunning. I mean, Serena is a straight brickhouse. However, she is NOT bent over, booty cheeks spread open for the world to take a looksie. She is not spread-legged, crotch all out. There are no tittays all in our face. This is as artistic as you can get, especially for sports.
Black female sexual repression is alive and kicking, and surfaces almost daily in judgmental words. I'm not here to start a revolution, but I can definitely point out these pockets of historical effects manifesting themselves in people.
Point blank, this is a celebration, bitches. Not exploitation. Not whoring.
I am a Sociology graduate student, wife, pet-mother, and pixie. One of my favorite sociologists, Emile Durkheim, presented the notion of sacred and profane experiences in society. I believe that when one makes an everyday (or profane) experience sacred (or special) in some form, magic occurs in life. Join me as I share my interests in racial/ethnic relations, human rights, animals/nature, veganism, natural hair, music, death, general snark, and all the wonders of the world. May your day rain unicorns upon you.