Open Letter to Taylor Townsend: You Must Win

Huffington Post blogger Kelly Smith Beaty tells the tennis champ, who's been criticized for her weight, "You really can be whatever you want to be."

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Taylor Townsend (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Huffington Post blogger Kelly Smith Beaty tells the tennis champ, who's been criticized for her weight, "You really can be whatever you want to be."

The premise of the double standard is simply that in order for you to be successful, you've got to be twice as good as THEM. It means that YOU -- a young, black woman bursting with both the potential and the preparation to conquer the world, must be smarter, wiser, faster, better, prettier, stronger, and simultaneously humbler than them -- a subject whose identity is often elusive, but pretty much means anybody other than you.

You were harshly and cruelly introduced to this phenomenon as an organization that sets at the apex of your field, the USTA, demonstrated judgment that was so basic and infantile, that in a blind test most rational adults would have attributed its commentary to a mean girl in your high school cafeteria, rather than a senior-level official at our nation's governing body for the sport of tennis -- an organization whose mission purports "to promote and develop the growth of tennis." (I suppose that growth and development stop shorts at its tennis players.)

Instead of applauding you for your accomplishments, they accosted you about your weight; rather than promote you based on performance, they detained you based on disdain for the diversity of beautiful sizes, shapes, and statures in which human beings invariably come.

You learned a hard, but important lesson this week, Taylor -- there are many in this world that still do not believe that you should win.

But it is because of that, that I tell you this:

You must win.

Read Kelly Smith Beaty's entire piece at the Huffington Post.

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