Thursday, January 20, 2011

Let's talk tugging

Glam Gal over at A Glam Slam has posted about the controversy over Venus Williams's Australian Open dress which apparently is not quite a dress. I haven't seen all that much of the Open yet this year what with the odd hours of television coverage and the fact that I'm not all that excited about watching men's five setters. So I haven't seen Venus's attire. I'm generally not a fan of her outfits, but that just means we don't share the same fashion sense. Neither here nor there.
But the commentators love to talk about them and whether they are inappropriate and/or ill-fitting. Glam Gal posted the commentators' discussion:

John McEnroe: "I think that dress has distracted [Venus]."
Dick Enberg: "It’s distracting you."
McEnroe: "That’s a fair point."
Enberg: "It sounds like it might be a distraction to her opponent."
McEnroe: "Well, she’s tugging at it. She’s uncomfortable with it."
Mary Carillo: "She uses that fabric a lot in her designs, John. And for the last couple of years we’ve seen her have to correct her outfit after every point."

As Carillo notes, Venus has been tugging on her clothes for a long time. I can recall when she was still with Reebok and wore that blue and black top at the US Open one year that a keyhole in the front that she was always tugging up.
A few points. One, Venus still manages to win matches, Grand Slams even--throughout her tugging phases. Amazing! In other words, this isn't really an issue for anyone other than the commentators looking to construct a story.
Two, those short shorts that people seem so concerned about--even though they are black this time and not nude as they were in France and NYC last year--they look remarkably similar to the short shorts that female intercollegiate volleyball players wear--and sometimes tug at. So if you think Venus is a bad role model because she's showing a lot of leg, well someone should talk to whomever is mandating the uniforms in intercollegiate volleyball, not to mention the aptly named butt-huggers that female runners wear in competition. (Note that the men in both of these respective sports wear shorts that are longer.)
And finally, the tugging. Andy Roddick tugs at his shirt sleeve after every point. Every point. No one is calling that distracting to him or others. No one is suggesting--besides me and, I think, my mother--that he get a better-fitting shirt. And of course there is Nadal's tugging at the back of his shorts, aka picking his wedge. Has anyone suggested--aloud on television--that he get bigger shorts? (And if someone has, PLEASE let me know because I want to track that down.) Even if someone has mentioned it, we're not talking about it every time Nadal shows up in a new outfit at a Grand Slam. And, of course, the most infamous of all the tugging: Jimmy Connors tugging at his crotch after (nearly) every point. Should we go back, watch some old matches and count how often Connors touched his junk???
So the white men can tug wherever and however much they want without constant critique but not a black woman apparently.


Diane said...

Venus tugged at her top for years. When she began wearing her own designs, the tugging stopped; now it has started again.

Andy Roddick, I don't get. He ruins the Lacoste look by wearing an over-sized shirt, then tugs at it. Of coruse he has to tug at it--it's too big!

In fairness, members of the tennis media--in the past--made frequent comments about Nadal's habit, and even addressed him about it in interviews. They have now stopped talking about it, though.

Both of Venus's Melbourne outfits maybe there is a third one coming) make you want to say "What was she thinkng?" But that has nothing to do with shorts and legs--just with the designs.

When it comes to female tennis players, the press wants "sexy," and then it criticizes players for clothes that are "sexy." Business as usual.


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