The furore over the self designed outfit worn by Venus Williams at the French Open tournament is not surprising, but the reaction of the moral majority is somewhat5 irksome. Whilst Venus Williams may not have a career in haute couture to look forward to, her outfit is (I would suggest) more tasteful and less revealing than many of the outfits worn by ‘celebrities’ at award ceremonies, and other functions where they bring out their Sunday best. In fact, as has been pointed out, because the colour of the material was chosen to match her skin colour, it gives the illusion of bering more revealing than it actually is.
From a pedantic perspective one could argue that it would have been easier, and cheaper, to dispense with the material, but of course that would not be allowed. It does remind me of a piece of ‘performance art’ back in the 1980s. In this case a Liverpool artist created 2 one piece outfits (one for a man and one for a woman), which simulated the male and female body shapes. As part of the performance art two volunteers donned these outfits, and walked around Liverpool city centre, seemingly naked, but actually fully clothed. Not surprisingly they were arrested.
The reactions (to the Venus Willaims outfit) are also reminiscent of the case some years ago, when the partner of Jack Nicholson was ridiculed for wearing a tutu and thigh length boots to some function (and for the record I thought she looked quite good). To make matters worse, Jack Nicholson was criticized for getting irritated when he got annoyed at being asked for his opinion on his partner’s outfit, when he was trying to publicize his latest film.
Finally I am reminded of a news story from the early 1970s, when a tennis player at Wimbledon had her outfit banned. My memories of this are now vague, but I seem to recall that it was a full length dance leotard (white of course). Although she was seen wearing the outfit in the practice courts, she was forced to replace it with something more traditional for the tournament itself. Somehow I don’t thin she really expected to get away with it, but at least she tried.