Not only is Serena Williams arguably one of the best athletes — men and women included — she is also one of the most beautiful, according to People‘s annual “Most Beautiful” list. Proud of this, the tennis player posted a photo from the magazine spread of herself posing in a black one-piece with gold jewelry. While a stunning shot, the black-and-white image has come under fire for excessive retouching.
After being shared on Thursday, many commenters noted that her waist looked unnatural and very unlike how she is usually pictured. One noted that Williams is “gorgeous and amazing but that Photoshop is awful. Your body is amazing, why manipulate it?” Another said, “Lay off the Photoshop. You are perfect without it!” Someone else wrote: “This looks retouched. You’re beautiful without that help, and it’s disappointing if this has happened. You’re such a fierce beauty, naturally!”
Interestingly, the spread in the magazine was shot in color. So while the magazine itself has become the subject of blame, where to actually point fingers is unclear. “Why did you let them Photoshop your waist like that? You’re beautiful as is from head to toe,” one user wrote. “I hate magazines that do this! She’s a natural beauty, Photoshop NOT needed.” An Instagrammer added: “Serena, don’t let them change who you are. Don’t let them SHAPE YOU. So many people look to you as a beautiful, healthy woman. Show your real self to girls. Women alike that look up to you. Don’t demonstrate to us that we have to have that kind of waistline to be pretty.”
A few hours after it was initially posted, the manipulated version was replaced with the unretouched version that appeared in the magazine although still in black and white.
This isn’t the first time Williams has gotten wrapped up in retouching drama. When she appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated as its Sportsperson of the Year, social media pointed out that her muscular legs seemed slimmed down. SI claimed it was just “normal magazine production.”
During a previous body shaming incident, Williams said she doesn’t have time for the negativity. I have too many things to do, you know. I have Grand Slams to win. I have people to inspire. And that’s what I’m here for.” She added: “I’ve been like this my whole life, and I embrace me and I love how I look. I love that I am a full woman, and I’m strong and I’m powerful and I’m beautiful at the same time. And there’s nothing wrong with that.”