Tennis superstar Serena Williams created a racket on social media after she said giving birth will make her a “real woman.”
The 23-time Grand Slam winner, who is currently expecting her first child, sparked controversy when she opened up about what bringing a baby into the world means to her.
“I have so much respect for so many women (for giving birth),” Williams told Stellar magazine in a new cover story.
“I am about to be a real woman now, you know? It’s going to be something incredibly impressive to go through.”
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Many didn’t approve of the 35-year-old’s synopsis of what it means to be a real woman, considering many women either decide not to give birth or are unable to.
“So, in your view, I’m not a real woman because I CHOSE not to have children? #ChooseYourWordsCarefully,” one user questioned.
Others echoed this sentiment.
“Really unfortunate statement from her,” another user wrote. “All women are real, not just the ones who give birth.”
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A third tweeted: “Didn’t know I had to have a baby to be a ‘real woman’ ..thanks for letting me know @serenawilliams.”
Williams, who is engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, has not publicly reacted to the backlash.
The Nike-sponsored athlete also said during her wide-ranging interview with Stellar that the “scariest thing” about becoming a mother is how it could impact her legendary tennis career, though she believes it could work to her benefit.
“I think (giving birth) will give me more strength, if that’s possible, and a lot more confidence,” she told the magazine. “I feel like I will be ready for anything.”
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Williams revealed she and Ohanian are expecting in April when she accidentally made a Snapchat photo of her burgeoning baby bump viewable to the public. She said she was 20 weeks along at the time.
The tennis star has shared photos and spoken about her pregnancy frequently ever since. She’s one of several big-name celebrities to announce a pregnancy this year, joining Beyoncé and Amal Clooney, each of whom gave birth to twins in recent months, and Hannah Jeter.
Williams’s pregnancy is obviously not the only momstroversy to rock the media. A recent study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign shows that the media perpetuate unrealistic images of women during pregnancy, causing self-consciousness or depression in nearly half of the pregnant women and new moms interviewed. Subjects in the study complained specifically about the media pushing photos of celebrities in bikinis weeks after they gave birth.
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