Why #SerenaSlam Matters—and How YOU Can Change the Conversation

Wimbledon Champions Dinner - Red Carpet Arrivals
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Amy Synnott is InStyle's executive editor. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

ICYMI: The New York Times recently wrote a controversial article about the persistence of body-image issues in women’s tennis. This story dovetailed with another troubling news cycle concerning a Twitter troll who was rebuked by J.K. Rowling for tweeting that the main reason for Serena Williams’s success is that “she is built like a man.” As both a woman and a mother of a young girl, I can understand the outrage. In the midst of Williams’s awe-inspiring win at Wimbledon, why denigrate her success by talking about the size of her body? Do male athletes endure the same kind of scrutiny or criticism when they are a bit more muscular than their competition? In defense of The New York Times, they were just doing what newspapers always strive to do: report the news without bias or opinion. But, as Margaret Sullivan acknowledged in a recent opinion piece on The New York Times blog, the timing—and the execution—could have been more thoughtful. “I wanted it to be a conversation starter,” author Ben Rothenberg told Sullivan in the follow-up op-ed piece. “But I should have challenged the norms rather than just state them as a given.” At InStyle, we would like to pick up the reins of that challenge.

Are you proud of the way your strong arms, shoulders, back, or legs look? Help move the dialogue forward by sending us a selfie or tweet with the hashtag #strongisbeautiful. The conversation starts now.

Serena Williams
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