People on Twitter Monday wondered why the word “woman” was printed on the cover in quotation marks.
Okay but why is woman in quotation marks @GQMagazine— Anna Wagner (@Anna_F_Wagner) November 12, 2018
@GQMagazine Please explain to me why GQ Magazine’s Editorial Team felt that quote marks were necessary on the Serena Williams’ Woman of the Year Cover. I Really Really Need to Know. I’m Expecting an Answer🤷🏽♀️ pic.twitter.com/qGNPNJI4Rq— Y•S•A•N•N•E (@YsanneBueno) November 13, 2018
Hey @GQMagazine ...what the heck? Why "woman" and not WOMAN? ..seriously?!!!— Carolyn (@careme10) November 12, 2018
They really put "Woman" in quotes in reference to Serena and no one at the table thought it was a bad idea. I'm speechless.— King Wizard (@ChrisTheHuman_) November 12, 2018
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 pic.twitter.com/97yaP18etC— #ImWithStacey (@seabethree) November 12, 2018
Mick Rouse, who per his Twitter bio is a GQ research manager, noted the word was handwritten by U.S. fashion designer Virgil Abloh. Williams collaborated with Abloh for a Nike collection, and he designed the tutus she wore at this year’s U.S. Open.
Abloh “has styled everything in quotation marks as of late,” Rouse wrote, acknowledging the concerns were “not something lost on me.”
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)— Mick Rouse (@mickrouse) November 12, 2018
It quite literally has tags/quotations around it because that’s Virgil’s own style/branding, including in his partnership with Nike and Serena herself. That’s the only “message” behind it. pic.twitter.com/uaGV1DYDhC— Mick Rouse (@mickrouse) November 12, 2018
100% understand the concerns your raising, and it’s not something lost on me. But that’s the truth behind the cover— Mick Rouse (@mickrouse) November 12, 2018
Not everyone was totally convinced, and some asked why the entire Woman of the Year title had not been placed in quotation marks.
There was no immediate comment from Williams, GQ or Abloh. Williams chairs the Board of Advisors for Oath, the Verizon unit that owns HuffPost.
The magazine’s Woman of the Year edition was released alongside three others, with covers celebrating actors Jonah Hill, Michael B. Jordan and Henry Golding as GQ’s 2018 Men of the Year.
Everyone knows Virgil. We know his designs. We get the quotations. Doesn’t mean putting quotes around woman makes it any less insensitive esp. considering the masculinization of Serena and black women in general!— Kae (@akaeleehb) November 13, 2018
As if everyone will identify “Oh yea that’s Virgil’s style!” when most ordinary people not into Supreme-isms or adherents to fashion really have no fuxx to give about VA or Off-White. Lol.... This is like when H&M thought that monkey on the hoodie was just mere child’s play— Fruit by the Footages (@tomorrowmanx) November 13, 2018
That context definitely helps - it’s definitely off putting especially for an athlete who has been critiqued for not being womanly/not a real woman in all sorts of racist and problematic ways— Anna Wagner (@Anna_F_Wagner) November 12, 2018
If his thing is "quotes" - It should have been "Woman of the Year". I'm skeptical that someone didn't know exactly what they were doing. Otherwise they "live in a cave" and/or were insensitive to it. "Enuf is Enuf"— Joni Dalgar (@charlieFL7) November 12, 2018
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— king crissle (@crissles) November 12, 2018
The "WOMAN" was handwritten by Virgil Abloh, who designed Serena's US Open dress. Quotes are his "thing," but still...— Gibson Johns (@gibsonoma) November 12, 2018
so why didn't he put "men" in quotation marks on the men's covers? https://t.co/5mjTatH3xo— king crissle (@crissles) November 12, 2018
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.