Serena Williams was named GQ's Woman of The Year. There's just one small problem.

Serena Williams has, quite rightly, been named GQ magazine’s Woman of the Year.

But there’s one small problem with her magazine cover that’s getting people up in arms.

The magazine made the design decision to put quote marks around the word woman.

Which, in hindsight, maybe someone should have rethought. Many have considered the choice offensive, especially given that the tennis champion has faced cruel taunts about having “masculine” strength throughout her career.


However, it seems there may have been a good reason (well, a reason at least) for the quote marks being placed around “woman”.

As social media users pointed out, the 37-year-old has been wearing the designs of US fashion designer Virgil Abloh – who created a line for Nike specifically for her to wear during the 2018 US Open. (Remember that tutu?)

And here’s where context is key. Virgil, who’s also an artistic director at Louis Vuitton, has his own label Off-white, which lately has been putting quote marks around everything. The Nike shoes Serena wore on court also had quotation marks around the word “air”.

And it’s Virgil’s handwriting that the word “woman” is written in.


It’s a design choice that, with context, makes sense, but without it, looks really bad.

Other Twitter users pointed out that the controversy could have been overcome if the cover had Virgil’s handwriting for the entire Woman of The Year phrase.

GQ tried to give the cover context in their tweet about the cover, but it wasn’t quite clear enough.

The magazine has a history of not making the wisest decisions when it comes to their Woman of The Year cover.

In 2012, the cover featured Lana Del Rey completely naked. She was carefully posed of course, but what readers had a problem with was that the three Men of The Year were fully clothed in suits.

What do you think? Should GQ have rethought the quote marks?