Being a sports fan from Kansas, I've been reading Jason Whitlock's self-important, "edgy" (read: attention-seeking), poorly researched diatribes for a while. Sometimes, he's absolving white folks for racism. Usually, he's just plain wrong. But whatever it is, he rarely has a coherent point to make about sports.
When I'm visiting Kansas or surfing the Kansas City Star, I usually just turn the page to look for the far superior Joe Posnanski (who, full disclosure, I know slightly). But when he invades the "feminism" tab of my Google Reader, I can't restrain myself from commenting.
Recently, Whitlock has taken Wimbledon champ Serena Williams - let me emphasize the Wimbledon champion part of that - for being out of shape. He claims that she is letting women's tennis down by not living up to her full potential:
Serena Williams has all the ingredients to be Michael Jordan, Jim Brown and Muhammad Ali rolled into one made-for-TV package. She is quite possibly the most gifted female athlete in our lifetime.
Unfortunately for us, she lacks the courage to fulfill her destiny.
She'd rather eat, half-ass her way through non-major tournaments and complain she's not getting the respect her 11-major-championships résumé demands.
She complains about being ranked No. 2 in the world when she's not bitching on Twitter or her blog about new rules that forbid Wimbledon players from eating in the locker room.
Seriously, how else can Serena fill out her size 16 shorts without grazing at her stall between matches?
Oh, but let's not miss the true focus of his blowhardery. More important than her failure to live up to her tennis potential is her failure to live up to her sexy potential:
What's that, you say? These are professional athletes whose main purpose in their bodies is not attracting sexual attention? That Serena should be respected for her considerable athletic achievements and not her apparently overfat backside:
And when she's in shape, she's every bit as sexy as Beyonce.First of all: just because it happens to men, doesn't make it right. And while you can come up with anecdotal evidence to support "men are oppressed too!" whining, there are plenty of highly praised male sports stars not known for their looks: Randy Johnson. Willie McGee. Leon Spinks.
I know, sex appeal isn't supposed to matter in sports. That's such a load of (spit). Television sells sex appeal in men's sports, too. You think being tall, dark and handsome didn't significantly enhance Jordan's appeal? You think Joe Namath, Joe Montana and Tom Brady haven't been sold as sex symbols?
God gave Serena everything, including drop-dead looks....She's chosen to smother some of it in an unsightly layer of thick, muscled blubber, a byproduct of her unwillingness to commit to a training regimen and diet that would have her at the top of her game year-round...GOD FORBID WOMEN REACH 175 POUNDS. Here's a clue, Whitlock: If the woman is winning international championships at 175 lbs, maybe she PERFORMS BEST at 175 lbs.
Think about it. At 5-foot-9, 145 pounds, Serena would be unstoppable on the court, on the cover of every magazine still in circulation and downloaded on the Internet three times more often than Anna Kournikova.
Instead, Serena is arguably pushing 175 pounds, content playing hard only in the major tournaments, happy to be photographed on dates with pro athletes and proud to serve as a role model for women with oversized back packs.
But, you know, he's just an unpopular truth teller, and there's no need to "scream sexism":
BBWs — Big Booty Women — do not write me angry e-mails. I'm only knocking Serena's back pack because it's preventing her from reaching her full potential as an athletic icon. I am not fundamentally opposed to junk in the trunk, although my preference is a stuffed onion over an oozing pumpkin.Um, ew.
(A stuffed onion is a booty so round and tight that it brings tears to your eyes).
Bottom line: Jason Whitlock needs to stop policing the body of one of the best athletes in the world. She clearly knows what her body needs to perform at its peak.