Imagine achieving everything you set out to achieve in life, and then add some. Let’s say you’re a multi award-winning artist or an unbeatable tennis player, and whilst you’re up there on cloud nine living your best life, you’re having to read malicious articles that dismiss all your achievements. You may have already guessed it, but I am referring to Serena Williams and Beyoncé. Both women and many before them have fallen victim to the hands of journalists who continue to scrutinise their every decisions.
“Tell me if you think referring to one of the world’s greatness tennis players as being a ‘thong girl’ isn’t offensive.”
Irish Independent columnist Sinead Kissane recently wrote what I believe had to have been one of the most malicious and unnecessary articles I have ever read in my life. Full of crude comments about Serena Williams’s physique and posture, Sinead claimed that the tennis player sabotaged her fight for equality after featuring in a Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Funny that Sinead didn’t feel this passionately about the other athletes who featured in the photoshoot. Think I’m exaggerating? Read the article for yourself, and tell me if you think referring to one of the world’s greatness tennis players as being a ‘thong girl’ isn’t offensive.
This article infuriated me, but the final line was crossed when I read various distasteful pieces that slammed Beyoncé for her elaborate photoshoot in which she revealed her twin babies to the world. Yet again, some white female journalists started furiously typing away at their computers, accusing Beyoncé of being obnoxious and arrogant. All these articles had one thing in common; the writers seemed to generally despise Beyoncé. Their poorly structured arguments laced with insults made this very apparent.
“What is it about seeing black women proudly flaunt their womanhood that makes some white female journalist so mad?”
Sarah Vine in particular was really angered by Beyoncé’s depiction of herself as the Goddess Osun, and accused her of being a narcissist. It seems Beyoncé portraying herself as a Goddess particularly frustrated the masses, as an article entitled ‘Having a baby isn’t a miracle and doesn’t make you a goddess‘ also took the chance to bash Beyoncé, this for her Grammy performance. Yes, Beyoncé’s photoshoot and Grammy performance were flamboyant to say the least, but the point still remains; why was she the only one that received a huge backlash? These journalists were awful quiet when white female celebrities chose to announce their pregnancies on social media in similar fashions.
So what is it? What is it about seeing black women proudly flaunt their womanhood that makes some white female journalists so mad?
“Seeing black women own their womanhood and sexuality is what triggers these journalists to try and break them down.”
Dr. DiAngelo describers these hateful articles on Beyoncé and Serena Williams as an outcome of white fragility which is described as: “a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt”. Dr.DiAngelo would argue that seeing black women own their womanhood and sexuality is what triggers these journalists to try and break them down in order to restore the racial status quo, and I have to say I agree with this assumption to a certain extent.
I do understand that some people just didn’t like Beyoncé or Serena’s photoshoots and that’s okay. I just don’t think it’s fair that black female celebrities are always the ones being constantly scrutinised for their decisions, when their white counterparts aren’t.