While we learn season after season that despite their tremendous statistics and achievements, athletes are not necessarily the most appropriate role models (Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Michael Vick, Alex Rodriguez, Brett Favre, Michael Phelps and LeBron James, anyone?) for kids. Yet it can be difficult to stop kids from looking up to some sports legends nonetheless.
But what happens when the crime committed by the Heisman Trophy winner, World Series champion, Super Bowl ring wearer or Olympic gold medalist isn’t an extramarital affair (or 15), dog fighting, steroids, sexting, bong hits or an inflated ego? What if the egregious offense is a skirt so short it’s barely discernable from a shirt that, say, your young daughter might ask you if she can wear, too?
Venus Williams considers herself somewhat of a fashion maven. At the U.S. Open in New York last fall, she wore a pink tank dress with fireworks exploding all over it. She proudly said the outfit was supposed to pay tribute to New York and its electric energy. However instead of honoring New York, most in New York snickered that the fireworks literally came up over her underwear. Sometimes she wears short shorts underneath her shockingly short dresses, sometimes she leaves what’s underneath up to the imagination.
She’s putting on a show again this week at the Australian Open. Not just because she’s made it to the second round, but because she’s once again wearing dresses, the hemlines of which are inversely proportional to her age: as she gets older, the dresses get shorter — as Yahoo Sports Chris Chase said so eloquently.
The thing is, Venus Williams actually does have some fashion credentials. She has her own line of clothing — EleVen. But just because her clothes are for sale it doesn’t mean they’re appropriate for everyone (or anyone). After all, chances are you won’t take your 7-year-old shopping for panties at Victoria’s Secret or buy her sweatpants that have “Juicy” written across her butt. Not all styles and brands are OK for everyone.
Why it is that Venus feels the need to wear dresses up to her eyeballs is beyond me and, quite frankly, if and when my toddler ever asks when she’s older for clothes to match her favorite athlete or star, I think I’d tell her that just because we admire someone’s accomplishments it doesn’t mean we need to admire their fashion sense, too — that unless the star is just a flash in the pan, their talent has nothing to do with their wardrobe. And that if she really wants to be like Venus, she needs to take her racket and go hit some balls on the backboard.
Do you think Venus Williams is setting an inappropriate fashion example for young girls?