The organizers of the French Open are facing backlash after deciding to ban a catsuit worn by Serena Williams as part of changes to the dress code at the tennis competition.In speaking about the change, French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli singled out the black and red catsuit that Williams wore at the tournament this past May.“I think that, sometimes, we’ve gone too far,” Giudicelli told Tennis Magazine. “[The catsuit] will no longer be accepted. One must respect the game and place.”The outfit was specifically designed for Williams by Nike because the skin-tight material helped avoid blood clots, which caused her to have a pulmonary embolism after giving birth in September.“I call it, like, my Wakanda-inspired catsuit,” she joked at the time.“I’ve been wearing pants, in general, a lot when I play so I can keep the blood circulation going. It’s a fun suit, but it’s also functional so I can be able to play without problems,” she added.
Now many are accusing the French Tennis Federation of racism, sexism, and a form of body shaming.Williams has yet to speak out about the ban, but Nike was quick to respond with a tweet of their own.“You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers,” Nike wrote over a black and white photo of Williams in the suit.
Here are how others responded to the ban on social media:
The game seems quite content to be played no matter what women wear. Perhaps this man should focus on his own fashion choices and respect the GOAT's rights to wear whatever the hell she pleases. #getoffhercourthttps://t.co/sS7QcyJp3y
Let's call this French Open restriction on Serena Williams for what it is- racist and sexist. Arbitrary dress code policies have been disproportionately used to target Black women in schools, at work and now on the tennis court. This is the unfair policing of Black women's bodies https://t.co/kbMbLSHF2a
Banning Serena for her catsuit is just example of custom overriding common sense. Im not sure they understand how great she is for the sport. I for one will not be watching now. Thx French Open. Good luck with your dress code. BTW Im not sure how a tiny skirt is MORE respectable pic.twitter.com/V5oNnsHlVa