American fashion designer Virgil Abloh "loves" to put random words in quotes. It's sort of his "thing". This time it didn't work out so well.
Tennis great Serena Williams appeared on the cover of GQ Magazine as part of a series of three other covers showcasing Jonah Hill, Henry Golding, and Michael B. Jordan for GQ's "Man of the Year" awards. For the Williams cover, they crossed out the word man and added woman. Nothing wrong with that, except woman is "woman" and that has some folks questioning the use of quotation marks.
And then for Willams this—
Announcing GQ's Men (and Woman) of the Year 2018: @michaelb4jordan, @henrygolding, @jonahhill, and @serenawilliams… https://t.co/52jZjlEKTo— GQ Magazine (@GQ Magazine)1542028162.0
Some felt the quotes around woman are problematic considering the targeted abuse and body shaming both Serena and her sister Venus Williams have endured over the years.
@GQMagazine @michaelb4jordan @henrygolding @JonahHill @serenawilliams @virgilabloh Okay but why is woman in quotation marks @GQMagazine— Anna Wagner (@Anna Wagner)1542028409.0
Some felt there was a reasonable explanation.
@Anna_F_Wagner @GQMagazine @michaelb4jordan @henrygolding @JonahHill @serenawilliams @virgilabloh Because it was ha… https://t.co/YiVtKvRSZk— Mick Rouse (@Mick Rouse)1542028836.0
Here are some examples of the quote usage.
Virgil Abloh’s “Off-White is officially the hottest brand on the planet,” per @lyst’s quarterly hot list.… https://t.co/9ZGoD3smYR— TFL (@TFL)1540388874.0
.@virgilabloh, the designer behind the cult brand Off-White (who also happens to be the artistic director of Louis… https://t.co/78mr7Iyjyx— ForbesLife (@ForbesLife)1536786001.0
Okay, that makes more sense.
@mickrouse @GQMagazine @michaelb4jordan @henrygolding @JonahHill @serenawilliams @virgilabloh That context definite… https://t.co/Fek9e1EzuJ— Anna Wagner (@Anna Wagner)1542029303.0
so why didn't he put "men" in quotation marks on the men's covers? 🤔 https://t.co/5mjTatH3xo— king crissle (@king crissle)1542040183.0
hmm https://t.co/hG4vAtTDTE— E. Alex Jung (@E. Alex Jung)1542038784.0
i get the @virgilabloh reference but that quotation around woman is weird af and totally uncalled for. https://t.co/6tKReal3CP— Ryan Mitchell (@Ryan Mitchell)1542056182.0
I can’t believe no one at GQ thought perhaps with misogynistic and violent trans insults that Serena (and Venus) ha… https://t.co/uK5ao3b8Xi— #ImWithStacey👡 (@#ImWithStacey👡)1542032083.0
in the context of serena williams, a person who has been mocked for her appearance and deliberately misgendered for… https://t.co/3JRXJJe5nR— king crissle (@king crissle)1542040529.0
Then things got deep.
Some debate around the appropriateness of using quotes here. It’s Virgil Abloh’s aesthetic and Serena and Abloh h… https://t.co/jMsteWiAqd— KYLE (@KYLE)1542052836.0
“You can use typography and wording to completely change the perception of a thing without changing anything about… https://t.co/qEHZYABlpP— KYLE (@KYLE)1542052978.0
GQ editors could’ve been smarter here. I think when you’re marketing Serena Williams, you’ve got to have a bigger… https://t.co/SKjTj2GzLk— KYLE (@KYLE)1542053194.0
Hey, GQ, you may want to hire this guy.
@kyalbr You sir are so correct. The narrative on “S E R E N A” was the clever editors at @GQMagazine Provoke bu… https://t.co/pJxcAGO7cP— Fashion Luv &  ied (@Fashion Luv &  ied)1542098311.0
@kyalbr This is a great take.— △ 𝔻.𝕂. 𝕌𝕫𝕠𝕦𝕜𝕨𝕦 ▽ (@△ 𝔻.𝕂. 𝕌𝕫𝕠𝕦𝕜𝕨𝕦 ▽)1542074815.0
@kyalbr This is it. This is the correct response, well said.— Amy ✨ (@Amy ✨)1542084053.0
Ultimately, though people just love Serena and feel protective of her.
@TheSlayGawd @virgilabloh At least we know it’s not intentionally disparaging @serenawilliams but it IS unfortunate… https://t.co/LqDqxRBLc8— Rosa D-T (@Rosa D-T)1542116758.0
@gibsonoma @e_alexjung This is one time they shouldn't have, it reads as out of tune. If she personally is okay wit… https://t.co/AB4aJ7UxGk— aliya 🌟 (@aliya 🌟)1542040949.0
Just don't mess with Serena and all will be fine.