The cover was released yesterday evening in a tweet by the US edition of GQ, introducing Serena alongside Men of the Year Michael Jordan, Jonah Hill and Henry Golding.
However, social media users were quick to point out something strange about Serena’s cover – the use of quotation marks for the word “Woman”.
Some pointed the disparity between this cover and Gal Gadot’s Woman of the Year cover from last year.
Mick Rouse, who is, according to his Twitter bio, a Research Manager at GQ, soon defended the publication.
He pointed out the quotation marks were handwritten on the cover by Off-White fashion designer Virgil Abloh, who famously uses quotation marks in his creations.
Serena famously wore an Off-White tutu, in response to the catsuit ban, at the US Open this year.
While some accepted this explanation, others were less convinced by it.
Someone else called it inappropriate given “the context of Serena Williams”, whose appearance has been criticised in the past.
Earlier this year, Australian paper Herald Sun was condemned as after publishing a cartoon about Serena Williams which was deemed racist and sexist.
Serena has previously spoken out about the cruel comments surrounding her body, as part of a Reddit thread.
“I’ve been called man because I appeared outwardly strong,” she wrote in a post addressed to her mother.
“It has been said that that I use drugs (No, I have always had far too much integrity to behave dishonestly in order to gain an advantage).
“It has been said I don’t belong in Women’s sports — that I belong in Men’s — because I look stronger than many other women do. (No, I just work hard and I was born with this badass body and proud of it).”
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