Ann Killion, ironically writing for a sexist publication, makes several points about gender and the U.S. Open with which I strongly agree. There is no doubt in my mind that those in power in sport (and everywhere else)--both women and men--think it is just fine for men to lose their tempers, and "wrong" for women to do so. (I even saw a comment on a blog suggesting that Williams be gender-tested because her rage was so great.) Serena Williams, while often publicly embracing patriarchal values off the court, nevertheless--as an athlete--rubs against the grain of those values.
I also agree with Killion that way too much has been made of Clijsters' motherhood. It was indeed a great feat for Clijsters to have to begin her training from scratch after giving birth so that she could play again, and I applaud her hard work and determination. But the "balance" question is driving me nuts, as it always does. Clijsters "balances" motherhood and a profession the way millions of women--and men--do, every day.
However, I do not agree with Killion that the the line call was "ticky-tacky." What is the point of having rules if officials arbitrarily decide they should not be enforced at certain points of a match or a tournament? And--having seen the Tennis Channel footage--I also disagree with the "questionable" part.
Finally, I disagree that Williams' act was merely an "outburst." It was at first, but then it became something else when physicality was added to it. I do agree with Killion, however, that the chair umpire could have found something to do besides just sit there. And I do join others in thinking that a few "outbursts" from previous decades also crossed the line, but were tolerated.
So although I cannot go along with everything Killion has to say, I'm really glad that someone has devoted an entire column to the sexism aspect of what happened on Saturday.
As for those who make sexist and racist attacks on Serena and on the lineswoman: They appear to be less interested in discovering and analyzing what happened than they are in exploiting the event as an opportunity to express their disdain for those who are neither male nor Caucasian.