Updated on Nov 15, 2018. Posted on Nov 13, 2018

    People Are Not Happy That The Serena Williams GQ Cover Has "Woman" In Quotes

    The word was handwritten by Virgil Abloh, who regularly uses quote marks in his work.

    Yesterday, GQ revealed its annual "Men of the Year" covers and this time they included Serena Williams.

    Announcing GQ's Men (and Woman) of the Year 2018: @michaelb4jordan, @henrygolding, @jonahhill, and @serenawilliams (featuring handwriting by @virgilabloh) https://t.co/EpG3lKCJ3r #GQMOTY https://t.co/6MgczSxSpq

    Williams' cover was customized by designer Virgil Abloh. On it, he crossed out the word "men" and wrote "WOMAN" above it in quote marks.

    GQ / Kristin-Lee Moolman / Via gq.com

    People were not happy about the quote marks around the word.

    in the context of serena williams, a person who has been mocked for her appearance and deliberately misgendered for years... this aint it, virgil. https://t.co/SfPkwEjYl5

    i get the @virgilabloh reference but that quotation around woman is weird af and totally uncalled for. https://t.co/6tKReal3CP

    And they said they were offended on her behalf.

    I can’t believe no one at GQ thought perhaps with misogynistic and violent trans insults that Serena (and Venus) have dealt with for the last almost 20 years, to not put woman in quotation marks. Editorial rooms are a fucking disaster, all over this country. I’m offended for her https://t.co/97yaP18etC

    Mick Rouse, research manager at GQ, explained on Twitter that Abloh styles everything in quotation marks.

    @Anna_F_Wagner @GQMagazine @michaelb4jordan @henrygolding @JonahHill @serenawilliams @virgilabloh Because it was handwritten by Virgil Abloh of Off-White, who has styled everything in quotation marks as of late (see Serena's US Open apparel that he designed)

    Like this dress, which he designed for Williams to wear while competing in the US Open.

    Sarah Stier / Getty Images

    Some people have defended the cover and said that it only looks bad to those who don't know Abloh's work.

    If you’re not familiar with Virgil the quotations look really really bad https://t.co/y3TmFVwiFG

    Others still aren't convinced.

    Some debate around the appropriateness of using quotes here. It’s Virgil Abloh’s aesthetic and Serena and Abloh have a partnership. But, it’s completely divorced from Abloh’s reasoning for using quotes. In his own words, they’re used to convey a sense of ironic detachment. https://t.co/WlV0dpMs9q

    BuzzFeed News has contacted GQ and representatives of Virgil Abloh.

    Ikran is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

    Contact Ikran Dahir at ikran.dahir@buzzfeed.com.

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