A controversy was recently sparked at the US Open when audiences were made aware of an archaic double standard. Just yesterday, French tennis player Alizé Cornet noticed that her shirt was on backward during a match against Johanna Larsson in Flushing Meadows, Queens. The tennis player went to the back of court so she could turn the shirt around, briefly exposing her black sports bra.

According to the umpire, this was an act of “unsportsmanlike” behavior and was issued a code violation. Except, the issue is that the very same action is considered acceptable when performed by a male player. It is important to keep in mind that Cornet was playing in 98-degree weather. Furthermore, on that same day, male player Novak Djokovic not only changed his shirt during a match but sat on the court during his break with his top off. As expected, he received no penalization in any shape or form.

This incident has sparked outrage amongst those in the tennis community and the wider world alike. The outrage has led to numerous discussions, such as whether or not players should even compete in such weather and, glaringly, whether or not tennis is still guilty of innate sexism.

In truth, what happened to Cornet touches a chord with many women, who feel that their bodies policed and sexualized. The truth is that the notion of a woman topless has been oversexualized and, in a world where plenty of female athletes wear train clad in sports bras, there should be no controversy surrounding the sight of one at all. We simply cannot excuse holding different standards for male and female players.

Women have been in sports long enough, it’s time that we start paying them the same respect owed to their male counterparts.

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

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