For the second year in a row, GQ has picked a woman for the magazine’s annual Man of the Year issue.
This year an editorial choice made by the magazine left many readers questioning the publication’s intentions.
The first three stars to grace the magazine’s 2018 Man of the Year covers were Michael B. Jordan, Henry Golding and Jonah Hill. Serena Williams was the fourth.
The tennis player is on one of the four covers this year, following 2017’s Gal Gadot cover, but there is one major difference between the covers.
Williams’ cover has the word “woman” in quotations.
Gadot’s cover featured the headline, “Wonder Woman of the Year,” while Williams features the headline “The Champion.”
#SerenaWilliams and #MichaelBJordan for #GQ’s annual Man of the Year issue. The handwriting on the cover featuring Williams is by #VirgilAbloh. #womanoftheyear #leaderoftheyear
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The handwriting on the cover of the magazine was done by Virgil Abloh, the artistic director for Louis Vuitton, who has designed some of Williams’ athletic apparel.
According to GQ, Abloh is known for his use of quotation marks but many readers still wondered why the word woman appeared in quotations.
Back in May, Williams opened up about being “called a man” because of her appearance.
“People would say I was born a guy, all because of my arms, or because I’m strong,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “I was different to Venus: She was thin and tall and beautiful, and I am strong and muscular — and beautiful, but, you know, it was just totally different.”
She also penned an emotional letter on Reddit last year, in which she gave insight into dealing with her appearance being scrutinized since the age of 15.
“I’ve been called man because I appeared outwardly strong. It has been said that that I use drugs (No, I have always had far too much integrity to behave dishonestly in order to gain an advantage). It has been said I don’t belong in Women’s sports — that I belong in Men’s — because I look stronger than many other women do. (No, I just work hard and I was born with this bada** body and proud of it).”
Williams and GQ have yet to respond to the backlash from the cover as of this writing.
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