“This Is My Weapon And My Machine” Serena Williams Affirms She Loves Her Body Even If Critics Disapprove
“It’s really about maintaining your individual health and realizing we all weren’t meant to be a size 2,” I shared with my sister in conversation yesterday as we came to the realization that at least three of our friends were dieting, working out obsessively or taking some kind of supplement in hopes to achieve a body type completely different than the one they naturally have. I get it. The body shaming is real in social media and advertising. Either we’re watching Angela Simmons go hard in the gym in a few selfies a day to maintain a matching pair of abs for her ample bottom or we’re seeing yet another NBA star wife up some video vixen/Instagram model with a waist the size of street lamp but breast with sizes that look more like the abbreviation for a sorority and less like a section in Victoria’s Secret. Loving the body you were born with while being confronted by so many images that tell you to change is a daily struggle. So it’s nice to see Serena Williams isn’t having any of it.
The tennis champ who just won her first Grand Slam Match after giving birth to her first child recently opened up to Harpers Bazaar UK about facing body shaming throughout her career. Because of course in America, regardless of someone being one of the most highly decorated athletes in history, we still find ourselves criticizing if their hips look wide in a tennis skirt. She shares at the beginning of her career, people even cruelly questioned what sex she was born as due to her athletic build:
“It was hard for me. People would say I was born a guy, all because of my arms, or because I’m strong. I was different to Venus: she was thin and tall and beautiful, and I am strong and muscular ― and beautiful, but, you know, it was just totally different.”
The publication then asked about an interview that took place with Serena in 2004 where she expressed she wished was a size 4 and if her views had changed since then:
“Oh God, I’ll never be a size 4! Why would I want to do that, and be that?”
“This is me, and this is my weapon and machine.”
And although Williams has learned to love her body and all it’s accomplished, she did say that she would use the 2004 interview as a lesson to daughter, Olympia that everyone struggles with body image, but those struggles can be overcome:
“I love that I said that, because I can understand.”
“I can show Olympia that I struggled, but now I’m happy with who I am and what I am and what I look like… Olympia was born and she had my arms, and instead of being sad and fearful about what people would say about her, I was just so happy.”
When it comes to motherhood, Williams has been sending nothing but empowering messages to her daughter since she was in the womb revealing that after dodging most of the symptoms that can come with pregnancy like morning sickness and fatigue (she played and won in the Australian Open while pregnant) she knew she had to be having a girl:
“I said to Alexis, ‘This is a girl. Only a woman can be this strong.’”
We are enjoying witnessing every moment of Serena’s glo-up. You can watch her tackle pregnancy, marriage and killing it on the court in the documentary Being Serena available now on HBO.