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Serena Williams GQ 'Woman Of The Year' cover draws criticism

WOMAN OF THE YEAR: Serena Williams (Photo credit: GQ / Conde Nast)

SERENA WILLIAMS has been named GQ Magazine’s Woman Of The Year for 2018.

The tennis star features on the cover of the magazine’s latest issue, which also includes covers with Michael B Jordan, Jonah Hill and Henry Golding.

While the cover follows a difficult year for Williams - who suffered some losses on the court and shared her post pregnancy challenges after giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia - the magazine has been criticised for featuring the word ‘woman’ in double quotation marks beside her image with ‘men’ crossed out.

Many didn’t take to kindly to the word ‘woman’ being used with quotation marks, however it was revealed that the ‘woman’ logo was designed by Louis Vuitton creative director Virgil Abloh, who is known for using font and quotation marks in his designs.

Despite the explanation, some critics feel it's still in ‘bad taste’.

One Twitter user wrote: “I can't believe no one at GQ thought perhaps with misogynistic and violent trans insults that Serena (and Venus) have dealt with for the last 20 years, to not put woman in quotation marks.”

Another said: “I understand the connection, but I think GQ could have been more aware of the tone they were setting, given Serena’s history of sexism and maybe should have considered an alternative use of the designer’s quotation style while still being relevant to the cover’s change.”

Mark Rouse, research manager at GQ, commented on the backlash by defending Abloh’s design. “Because it was handwritten by Virgil Abloh of Off-White, who has styled everything in quotation marks as of late (see Serena’s US Open apparel that he designed). ‘It quite literally has tags/quotations around it because that’s Virgil’s own style/branding, including in his partnership with Nike and Serena herself. That’s the only “message” behind it,’ he said.

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