In recent news, Serena Williams has graced the covers of tabloids and magazines. Winning her 23rd Gran Slam this January 2017 Australian opener.
Her recently discovered pregnancy has lit the online public sphere into a viral discussion about women and their ability to perform while experiencing physical changes.
Is this right? I start to ask myself this question of whether or not this issue is rooted from a bigger greater issue. We should however, blame “progesterone”– the thing that tags along with a woman’s pregnancy, extreme fatigue and weakness. The hormonal changes begin a domino-like effect of physical changes, by the fifth week, a pregnant woman’s blood volume increases along with the number of her red blood cells. Precisely everything in her body begins to transform. Knowing this and more we start to understand why so many are amazed by William’s recent win. They aren’t surprised that Serena Williams won, she is a winner of dozens of metals over the course of 20 years of her professional tennis career. The argument that is spiraling all over social media is about how in the world Williams keeps her position as the best female tennis player in the world while currently with child.
Picture: (Serena Williams selfie of pregnancy)
Williams admitted she broke the news by accident on Snapchat, clarifying that even her own coach had no idea. “You know how social media is, you press the wrong button and…”
@SerenaWilliams on accidentally sharing her pregnancy on Snapchat #TED2017
Articles began to flood my news feed. New York Times posted “Winning While Pregnant: How Athletes Do It” by Roni Caryn Rabin just 2 days ago. The article discussed Serena Williams success and how athletes as well as people with very physically active lives, can function even more so when physically tested by nature. The article further elaborated by talking about James Pivarnik, a professor of kinesiology at Michigan State University who studies the effects of exercise on pregnancy.
“These women are different. They can recover from incredible stresses that they put themselves through on a daily basis for their entire lives,” -James Pivarnik
“One of the reasons they can hit a tennis ball really hard is that they can recover. It’s the people who can recover who make it to that level.” -James Pivarnik
So to answer the question of whether or not it is good that the media is discussing and conversing on this issue, I believe yes, it is.
Women have often been projected in media and television as weak. Hit with unexpected pressure, we are often described as overly emotional or unable to cope with lives pressures. Well, it is women such as Williams that move to impress and break the in place stereotypes that exist about men and women.