Caroline Wozniacki and My Personal 'Becky Look at Her Butt' Moments - A Retrospective

I don’t follow tennis except for when I get news updates about Venus and/or Serena Williams whooping someone’s ass. I didn’t know who Caroline Wozniacki was until the stunt she pulled heard ‘round the internets. I was so annoyed by it that I tweeted her.

“You’re an idiot, and you only wish you had a body like Serena Williams,” I typed. Then I went on a rant where I called her a “flapjack ass having tennis playing yamp.” At the time, I didn’t realize that it’s not uncommon for tennis players—primarily the men—to mock each other and that Serena Williams and Wozniacki are allegedly friends.

(Read: Unpretty: My Personal Battle With Vanity and Insecurity)

It’s not usually my style to tweet my irritation at people but after doing some self-reflection and watching The View—where Whoopi Goldberg pointed out that Serena gets made fun of a lot by other players, even the men—I realized that Wozniacki’s stunt triggered something personal. I could theorize about the Venus Hottentot effect and the idea that curvy bodies—traditionally possessed by women of African decent—are historically rarely praised as beautiful. Curves are exotic hyper-sexualized things to conquer and tame—but not attached to an actual woman one would be seen with in public. I digress.
I am a woman who has been very well developed since I was 11 and I still struggle with self-acceptance.

I’m happy with myself, for the most part (I wish my boobs were a lot smaller), but I literally went from pudgy kid to va va voom over night. That was traumatic. I was an A cup right before heading to 6th grade. By the end of that year, I was a big C. I didn’t notice at first until one day (still in grade 6), some loser kid—even at that age he was a hoodlum—walked past me in the hallway as I stood in line with my class and yelled, “DAYUM! She got some big ass titties!” My teacher, a man, ignored it and everyone else laughed. I was mortified then but eventually got desensitized, as it’s now a phrase I’ve grown accustomed to several years later—because people are primates, and I don’t mean that scientifically. It doesn’t annoy me any less when I hear it but I’ve learned to not act on the urge to punch people in the face, or go into a profanity-laced rage behind it.

It wasn’t just the boys who noticed, it was grown men too. One time at about age 16, I was with my dance school rehearsing for our recital at Avery Fisher Hall. I walked past the “Boys Tap” class right as they were about to go into a pre-rehearsal huddle in their dressing room. There was no other route I could take to get to stage left so, as I walked past, the grunts, groans, snickers and giggles in reference to my body (it happened so much that I could translate every sound) began, and I sucked my teeth huffed and sped up but stomped to get my “Fuck you” across. And then, one of the boys said, “Shut up big things!” They all guffawed—including their teacher, an adult man who I had a crush on. I then heard said teacher say, “Watch, all of that is gonna be down to here in a few years.” My crush was  immediately vanquished and I stormed back in and said, “Why would you let them talk to me like that and join in as a grownup?” His response was, “I can’t control them,” along with a shrug—before Kanye shrugging willful ignorance was cool.

My teenaged self didn’t know what else to say. I wanted to attack him because I didn’t have the rationale to point out that he was a loser tap teacher who was the back up Sand Man at the Apollo, and that he was behaving inappropriately toward a minor girl while encouraging boys to grow up thinking disrespecting women is ok. Anyway, by the grace of God and my ancestors, I didn’t pounce and rip his locs out. I fought back the tears and continued to my wing so that I wouldn’t miss my cue. This is the first time I shared that story.

But the men weren’t the worst. I remember being teased and given grief because “I thought I was all that because I had a big chest,” or being called a duck and watching kids trying to arch their backs in a way…I don’t have to explain that one, right?

Continue reading at Gangstarr Girl

Excerpted with permission from Starrhene Rocque

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