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Serena Williams' GQ cover draws backlash after she was named Woman of the Year by the magazine

Edduin Carvajal
Nov 13, 2018
11:34 A.M.

GQ Magazine released their choice for “Men of the Year” and “Woman of the Year,” selecting Serena Williams as the latter. However, one aspect of Williams' cover attracted a lot of criticism.

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The magazine chose Michael B. Jordan, Henry Golding, and Jonah Hill as its “Men of the Year,” showing them in marvelous poses with striking labels. Jordan, for example, was dubbed “The Leader.”

Golding, on the other hand, was “The Star;” Hill was called “The Director;” and Williams was identified as “The Champion.” While the tennis star looked amazing, the way they wrote “Woman of the Year” made people send backlash to the magazine.

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THE DESIGNER

They got designer and Williams collaborator Virgil Abloh to handwrite the word “Woman” and cross out “Men.” However, Abloh chose to write “Woman” between quoting marks, what made people on Twitter comment on it.

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THE BACKLASH

Most of them considered that it was a way to question her sexuality given the fact that she has been called a man in the past due to her muscular and toned body. One of the people who complained about it was user @ChrisTheHuman_.

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He admitted to being speechless because the designer put “Woman” in quotes in reference to the tennis star and “no one at the table” consider it was a bad idea, referring to the editorial team of GQ.

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COMPARING IT WITH THE PREVIOUS EDITION

Writer E. Alex Jung took his time to put together the 2017 GQ cover of the “Woman of the Year” next to this year’s edition. The previous woman selected was Gal Gadot, who was dubbed as the “Wonder Woman of the Year.”

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The evident difference was that no aspect of her title was in quotes. @seabethree also addressed the incident saying that it was unbelievable that the magazine’s team didn’t think about the violent and trans insults that the Williams sisters (Serena and Venus) have been dealing with for almost two decades.

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DEFENDING THE PUBLICATION

Knowing how bad Williams cover was received, Mick Rouse, the Research Manager for GQ Magazine, took his time to explain why they chose the quotation marks for “Woman.”

“Because it was handwritten by Virgil Abloh of Off-White, who has styled everything in quotation marks as of late (see Serena's US Open apparel that he designed),” admitted Rouse.

He added that it was Abloh’s decision as it the style/branding he chooses for all his works, including his partnership with Nike and Williams, so there was no hidden message behind it.

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