GQ Crowned Serena Williams 'Woman' Of The Year, And People Are Rightfully Taking Offense
The magazine claims the quotations on the cover have no hidden meaning.
GQ Magazine has found itself in hot water thanks to its "Woman of the Year" cover featuring Serena Williams.
Like what you're reading?
Get more in your inbox.
Every year, the magazine crowns several males as "Men of the Year" and features some of them on collectible covers. This year, actors Michael B. Jordan, Henry Golding and Jonah Hill along with the legendary Williams were cover stars.
Serena Williams is a woman, so the publication crossed out "men" and replaced the word with "woman." It appeared in quotation marks, and many took offense.
Mick Rouse, a research manager at GQ, explained on Twitter that the magazine did not mean the quotation marks as a slight but that they were put there as a stylistic choice by superstar fashion designer Virgil Abloh.
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)— Mick Rouse (@mickrouse) November 12, 2018
It quite literally has tags/quotations around it because that’s Virgil’s own style/branding, including in his partnership with Nike and Serena herself. That’s the only “message” behind it. pic.twitter.com/uaGV1DYDhC— Mick Rouse (@mickrouse) November 12, 2018
100% understand the concerns your raising, and it’s not something lost on me. But that’s the truth behind the cover— Mick Rouse (@mickrouse) November 12, 2018
As Rouse noted on Twitter, Abloh has collaborated closely with Williams; he even designed her U.S. Open outfit.
According to HuffPost, neither Serena nor Abloh have spoken out on the matter. Their silence was filled by those online defending Williams, with some noting both she and her sister Venus have had to struggle with misgendering throughout their illustrious careers.
@GQMagazine Please explain to me why GQ Magazine’s Editorial Team felt that quote marks were necessary on the Serena Williams’ Woman of the Year Cover. I Really Really Need to Know. I’m Expecting an Answer😡🙄🤷🏽♀️🤔👎🏾👎🏾👎🏾👎🏾👎🏾 pic.twitter.com/qGNPNJI4Rq— Y•S•A•N•N•E (@YsanneBueno) November 13, 2018
We know why it "normally" would be in quotes.— ROCHELLE RILEY 🗳 (@rochelleriley) November 13, 2018
But we believe "the artist" & @GQMagazine might have realized that, given the "history of abuse" @serenawilliams has suffered & the names hurled at this "goddess" & #GOAT, GQ might have fought to skip "quote marks" just "this time." pic.twitter.com/zznqrTAfVN
I can’t believe no one at GQ thought perhaps with misogynistic and violent trans insults that Serena (and Venus) have dealt with for the last almost 20 years, to not put woman in quotation marks. Editorial rooms are a fucking disaster, all over this country. I’m offended for her pic.twitter.com/97yaP18etC— #ImWithStacey👡 (@seabethree) November 12, 2018
That context definitely helps - it’s definitely off putting especially for an athlete who has been critiqued for not being womanly/not a real woman in all sorts of racist and problematic ways— Anna Wagner (@Anna_F_Wagner) November 12, 2018
so why didn't he put "men" in quotation marks on the men's covers? 🤔 https://t.co/5mjTatH3xo— king crissle (@crissles) November 12, 2018
Now, check these out: