Serena Williams: Guidelines of a Research Project

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  • Topic: Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters, Venus Williams
  • Pages : 4 (1161 words )
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  • Published : April 25, 2013
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Final Project Proposal
Eliza Noyes, Ally Ensor, Jorge Castro

In 1998, when Serena Williams first became a prominent presence in the professional tennis scene, she ignited enthusiasm in a sport that had recently waned in popularity. With the incredible success she experienced early in her career – winning US Open in 1999 and Wimbledon in 2001 – she became a fan-favorite and the “player to watch.” As early as 1999, after her first Grand Slam title in Flushing Meadows, President Clinton called the young star and invited her whole family to have dinner at the White House. As The New York Times observed in 2001, “With their brash, powerful games, glistening muscles, bright tight outfits, trademark confidence and high-profile championships, the Williams sisters have an electric appeal - one that transcends race and age.” By revolutionizing the game, Serena and her sister appeared to be breaking the color line that had existed for so long in this predominantly white sport. Today, however, Serena is no longer this idolized role model. Instead, she became associated with a variety of negative stereotypes: brash outbursts, inappropriate conduct, and “body-clinging” outfits plagued her. The fan base that was once so swept up in “Williamsmania” now roots for her opponents and heckles her at matches. The excitement that once surrounded her name and image has greatly diminished as fans look elsewhere for a new rising star that may fulfill the more ideal version of the role model that America seems to be searching for. As such, we are looking into why Serena Williams is not the role model and American icon that she once had the clear potential to be.

For our project, we will attempt to ascertain and analyze the different potential reasons that made Serena fall short of becoming an American icon. A quick scan through recent news will indicate that perhaps Serena is “easy to hate.” One plausible response is that Serena is the “Jack Johnson” of modern women’s...
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