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Temple Professor Weighs In After Serena Williams GQ Cover Sparks Controversy

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Tennis great Serena Williams is GQ Magazine's woman of the year but some are questioning if the title is more of an insult.

At first glance, many people say they like the newest GQ cover highlighting Serena Williams as Woman of the Year.

"I think she's a beautiful person,"said one woman when asked about Serena Williams' GQ Magazine cover.

But then they notice these four small lines--a quotation mark surrounding the word woman.

"I don't like that," said one man when asked about the quotation mark surrounding the word woman.

"That's unnecessary. It just shouldn't' be there," added another man.

"It raises the issue of the media's history with Serena. There have been allegations in the past about challenging her realness as a woman and that she's too masculine," said professor Heath Fogg Davis.

But professor Heath Fogg Davis, who chairs Temple's Gender, Sexuality and Women's studies program, points out the typeface is marked by a small asterisk.

Noting the handwriting is by artist Virgil Abloh, whose trademark signature is to put most words in quotes.

"If they don't know who Virgil Abloh is, that is kind of misleading," said one man.

And Professor Fogg Davis agrees.

"The average reader looks at the cover and sees the quotation marks which typically elicits the idea something isn't real, you're trying to be ironic, or you're making fun of something," says the professor.

He believes there could have been a little more forethought before releasing this cover.

And though GQ has not responded to the controversy, he has this theory.

"The realist in me is their goal is to sell a lot of magazines and they're doing that right now," he says.

But many believe they would still do that, even without the quotes.

"I probably wouldn't have put it in quotes. I would have just left it as woman of the year."

"Just put more emphasis on woman without the sarcastic implication behind the brackets."


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