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I want to say that the first time that I heard Serena Williams called a man was middle school.I can’t say that with absolute certainty as middle school is generally universally awful and grades six through eight are a haze of mob mentality and chocolate milk but nonetheless, it wasn’t until my teen years that I truly understood that people held a great amount of resentment for Serena Williams.Does her physique provide her an unfair advantage over women?The answer to both of these is obviously no (unless you count mixed doubles, which is a whole other ball game).Almost two decades later, there are plenty of men and women across racial lines who still possess this opinion: a perfunctory search of “Serena” and “ugly” or “Serena” and “man” will generate a terrifying number of results.This obsession with minimizing and masculinizing Serena isn’t just limited to a beauty standard, however.
Shamira is a twentysomething New Yorker who likes all things Dipset.You can join her in waxing poetically about chicken, Cam'ron, and gentrification (gotta have some balance) under the influence of varying amounts of brown liquor at her semi-monthly blog, shamspam.You know what you need in your life? Not even a Wes Anderson joint, but something you might see as part of a museum exhibit before you head to the dinosaur section. Weekly updates about all the pop culture, race & politics, Bougie Black People™ shit, and other grand tomfoolery we cover here on VSB. While women’s tennis had already been trending towards a more power-era sport with competitors such as Monica Seles disrupting the status quo, Serena’s serve set a new standard, requiring her competitors to train towards consistently returning speeds that were more commonly seen in men’s tennis.With the new benchmark being set and Serena’s serve taking her through a dominant run in the early aughts, the never-ending question started to rear its ugly head amongst professional tennis critics: could Serena be strong enough to compete with men?