Thursday, May 27, 2010

clothes, lack thereof

How have I not heard a single word of praise for Venus Williams' French Open outfit so far? Suddenly everywhere on the Internet appears to have become a Daily Fail bulletin board, full of people shocked and disapproving and taking the opportunity, of course, to offload astonishing quantities of sexist drivel. [Let me not go into those extra-special observations about 'gorillas in lace,' because if I do I will be forced to break some keyboards before I can finish my sentence.]

Where are all the people with taste? A sense of humour? Flair? This dress is smart. It's kitschy and ironic. It's fun. It's bold and sexy -- do we have a problem with bold and sexy, Internet? You never mentioned this before to me. You should have said something when I made that topless Fabio Cannavaro picspam! [Or maybe you did and I didn't listen.] Let us agree not to have a problem with bold and sexy. So what is wrong with this outfit?

As far as I can tell, the problem is that photographers have gone overboard to find pictures of the dress flying up to reveal Venus Williams' skin-coloured underwear. And I do in fact mean underwear that is the colour of Venus Williams' skin, not the sort of colour that gets called 'nude' or 'flesh' even when Michelle Obama is wearing it.

In some of those photos, it does look at first sight as though Williams has nothing on underneath the dress. Will you deal with it? She does have something on. It's not her problem. It's your problem, if you want to make it a problem.

You think the outfit ugly, fine. I'm not saying it's the sort of Oscar de la Renta stuff that stylists make their clients wear on Hollywood awards nights that is universally loved and applauded and yawn yawn yawn. It is a dress that is certainly not lacking in self-awareness, and you can decide for yourself if you think that's a bad thing. But please remember that when you say things like this:

Anyone who looked at the cover of the daily programme at Roland Garros on Wednesday might have wondered whether they had mistakenly picked up a copy of a lingerie catalogue, with the front of the magazine dominated by an image of Venus Williams in black and red lace, wearing what appeared to be her negligee.

[stuffy torygraph source]

all you're really telling me is that you can't tell the difference between red lace and red lycra.

Guys. This frock is attention-grabbing on purpose. It is inviting comment on purpose. It is also, by the way, still secondary to the fact that she is playing pretty winning tennis - and let's not forget that no matter what Venus Williams was wearing, tennis media would have found a way to prioritise that narrative over her game, as they have been doing for about the length of her career. The truth is that Venus Williams has out-awesomed you. Please just admit this and step away from the keyboard.

And now, we can go back to talking about what we will do in the event of naked Diego Maradona.


Space Bar said...

Yay for this! I was appalled at all the hate. Did nobody listen when she said 'It's about illusion"?

Angharad said...

...I had something intelligent to say, but the thought of naked Maradona fried my brain.

Why must you do such things to me?

roswitha said...

@space bar yes, thank you. it's like an epidemic of people not getting the point. this does not excuse abuse veiled as criticism.

@angha was he who threatened us! now i don't know how i can support argentina in all good conscience.

Jennifer Doyle said...

Missed this one. She is a genius.