Cases in the media are unveiling the strange rules that official female sports players must follow.
The most recent was an incident at the US Open involving tennis player Alizé Cornet, who decided to leave the court to change her shirt during a 10 minute cool down in the middle of her match against Johanna Larsson. After realizing she had put it on backwards, she went to the back of the court to take it off and quickly adjusted her shirt, resulting in umpire Christian Rask giving her a penalty for code violation.
The rules made by the Women’s Tennis Association states that players may only remove their shirts while off the court. Yet no rules such as this apply for men. These double standards are something women face constantly, and the fact that they happen in the supposedly fair environment of women’s sports is just repulsive.
Cornet was surprised by this violation, not expecting to be punished for such a mundane action.
“Of course, I was surprised when I just changed [the] t-shirt really quick, and he gave me the code violation,” Cornet told reporters. “I didn’t expect it, and I told him it was pretty weird.”
This punishment sparked controversy online, causing many people to speak out against such an unnecessary and misogynistic rule.
“Alize Cornet came back to court after 10 minute heat break. Had her fresh shirt on back to front. Changed at back of court. Got a code violation. Unsportsmanlike conduct…but the men can change shirts on court,” Scottish tennis coach Judy Murray wrote on her twitter.
This is not the first misstep by tennis associations when it comes to their female players. Serena Williams also became a topic of controversy as her black compression suit has been banned by French Open director Bernard Giudicelli.
Williams uses this compression suit to prevent blood clots and promote blood circulation, helping her with the condition she developed after giving birth to her latest child.
“I’ve had a lot of problems with my blood clots. God, I don’t know how many I’ve had in the past 12 months,” Williams told ESPN reporters at the French Open. “I’ve been wearing pants in general a lot when I play so I can keep the blood circulation going.”
After the embarrassing reveal of these unnecessary codes, many people have expressed their repulsion online, showing how society is beginning to hold others responsible for disrespectful actions towards women.
“I didn’t think anything was wrong with her [Williams] unitard, she also had a medical concern, which were valid,” said Debra Work, a MSD guidance counselor and supporter of the MSD girls tennis team. “She was totally appropriate, it may not have been the traditional tennis skirt and short, but this is 2018, not 1920.”
Many tennis players are also expressing their own opinions about how blatantly stifling these rules are, including Williams, who made a statement against her suits ban during a match on August 27, showing up in a black tutu and bedazzled sneakers.
Do tennis associations need to begin evaluating their rules? Or should tennis be left to what it has always been, a classic and respected sport? These are the questions the world is asking at this moment in time.