+

Tennis star Serena Williams has endured people questioning her femininity and shaming her body throughout her career. This week, on ABC's "Good Morning America," she had a response for those people.


Images from "Good Morning America."

Serena Williams is, by far, the #1 female tennis player in the world and absolutely an all-time great. This is not debatable.

Despite this, Williams can't seem to escape petty gossip and criticism.

People say she's "built like a man." They hint that her muscular build may be a sign of steroids. They criticize the size of her butt (seriously).

Or worse.

In a world where the first question asked of accomplished actresses on the red carpet is "Who are you wearing?" it's not surprising that Serena's feats of greatness on the court often get swept under the rug so we can talk about whether she looks good in a dress. But it sure is disappointing.

When GMA's Robin Roberts asked her about her critics, Williams had this to say:


"It's me, and I love me. I learned to love me. I've been like this my whole life, and I embrace me. I love how I look. I love that I'm a full woman and I'm strong and I'm powerful and I'm beautiful at the same time. There's nothing wrong with that. "
— Serena Williams

As if one of our generation's greatest athletes cares about trolls.

For good measure, she added:

"I don't have time to be brought down. I have too many things to do. I have Grand Slams to win. I have people to inspire, and that's what I'm here for."

And that fast, Williams and Roberts turned to another topic.

Guess you could say Williams' haters just got "served."

It's so admirable that Williams has been able to tune out the noise. Some of her peers haven't.

The New York Times ran a story this summer about top female tennis players struggling to maintain their feminine image — how training for speed, strength, and endurance can sometimes be at odds with sculpting the so-called "ideal" physique for a woman.

It's ridiculous that any athlete would have to feel conflicted about whether to be good at their job or "beautiful." Certain members of the sports media certainly don't help when they reduce female athletes to a number on the hotness scale.

ESPN's Darren Rovell recently put his foot in his mouth on Twitter when he tried to justify why it's easier to market Maria Sharapova (who is white, blonde, and routinely shows up on those “hottest athlete" lists) than Williams (who is a much better and more accomplished tennis player). According to Rovell, that sort of thinking doesn't necessarily indicate an underlying problem.

Russian-born Maria Sharapova. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images.

Sure it does, Darren. It's one thing to discuss an athlete's physique ( "Did Lebron James lose weight?") and another to assign them value based on whether people think they're physically attractive.

Until that changes, we definitely have a problem.

By the way, while we're discussing this, Serena is gearing up to defend her U.S. Open title, which could potentially be her fourth consecutive major win as a singles player. It would also make her only the fourth woman in history to complete a Grand Slam (sweeping all four majors in the same year), not to mention the first African-American woman to do it ... ever.

She's making history. And she doesn't give a damn what we think of how she looks doing it.

You can watch the full interview below:

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

Keep ReadingShow less

RumorGuard by The News Literacy Project.

The 2016 election was a watershed moment when misinformation online became a serious problem and had enormous consequences. Even though social media sites have tried to slow the spread of misleading information, it doesn’t show any signs of letting up.

A NewsGuard report from 2020 found that engagement with unreliable sites between 2019 and 2020 doubled over that time period. But we don’t need studies to show that misinformation is a huge problem. The fact that COVID-19 misinformation was such a hindrance to stopping the virus and one-third of American voters believe that the 2020 election was stolen is proof enough.

What’s worse is that according to Pew Research, only 26% of American adults are able to distinguish between fact and opinion.

To help teach Americans how to discern real news from fake news, The News Literacy Project has created a new website called RumorGuard that debunks questionable news stories and teaches people how to become more news literate.

Keep ReadingShow less

She's enjoying the big benefits of some simple life hacks.

James Clear’s landmark book “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” has sold more than 9 million copies worldwide. The book is incredibly popular because it has a simple message that can help everyone. We can develop habits that increase our productivity and success by making small changes to our daily routines.

"It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis,” James Clear writes. “It is only when looking back 2 or 5 or 10 years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent.”

His work proves that we don’t need to move mountains to improve ourselves, just get 1% better every day.

Most of us are reluctant to change because breaking old habits and starting new ones can be hard. However, there are a lot of incredibly easy habits we can develop that can add up to monumental changes.

Keep ReadingShow less