Just when you think some women are totally comfortable with their bods, an interview like this comes along and reminds us that even our body image heroes struggle, too.
Serena Williams spoke with People Magazine about her new book and wound up revealing some of her bodily hang-ups along the way. Check it out:
There were a lot of comments about your size (after the 2003 shooting death of her sister Yetunde Price.) Was that strange?
Yes. For some reason, everyone is obsessed with weight. Are you bigger? Are you smaller? And everyone cares about that! It's insane. Some days, I'll be bigger. Other days, I'll be smaller. It's not a big deal.
You mention that in your memoir. But just a few sentences later, you say that you're insecure about your body.
I think every female does that. We think we look good one day, and then the next day – or the next minute – we're insecure about something. Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and am like, 'I want to lose my inner thigh. I've got to do an hour of cardio today,' or whatever. I try not to do it, but the insecurity comes back sometimes. I do want to look good still; I do want to be healthy.
So what are your troublesome body parts?
My thighs. I think they're too big. But also my arms. I think they're too muscular. They're too thick.
Your arms? I thought you'd consider those your best part.
I'm sensitive about them. I know that toned arms are in now. Look at Michelle Obama. She has great arms, and I think it's wonderful that she shows them off like that! I love her for that. I'm like, 'keep wearing strapless dresses!' But I don't like mine.
What's your workout routine?
When I'm training, I just play a lot of tennis. But I'll go to the gym, then I'll run a lot of sprints. I spend a lot of time being physical, getting exercise. Sometimes, it's an official workout. Other times, though, it's just being active.
And what's your diet like?
I don't diet. I hate that word. Diets mean that you rob yourself of stuff that you like, and eventually you're going to cave in and eat things that aren't on your diet. You can't deprive yourself forever. I eat what I like, but I try to eat it in proportion. There are things that aren't healthy for me, so I try to eat less of them.
It shocks me that Serena feels badly about her arms. I think many of us assume that when a woman shows off a body part – particularly one that a good deal of us covet – we just assume she loves it, or at the very least is comfortable with it. The fact that Serena admires Michelle Obama’s chiseled arms but is self-conscious about her own just goes to show…the grass always seems greener, even when we’ve got a perfectly beautiful field right in our own backyard.