Venus Williams says she doesn’t identify as a feminist: ‘I don’t like labels’

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If anyone is the epitome of female empowerment, surely it’s the professional tennis player with four Olympic gold medals under her belt who also happens to be ranked eighth in the world.

However, despite stratospheric sporting and entrepreneurial successes and being a fierce advocate for equal pay in her industry, Venus Williams does not identify as a “feminist”, at least not in the lexical sense.

In an interview with Elle UK, the 37-year-old was eager to distinguish herself from the term: “I don’t like labels, though I do think as women we have much more power and opportunities in our hands than ever before.

“We truly don’t know how powerful we are. There’s nothing like a powerful woman walking into a room; her presence is like nothing else.”

The seven-time-grand-slam winner went on to laud the powerful women she sees in sport today.

There are so many emerging forces,” she said, “there’s been so much growth for women in sports. It’s very exciting.

“You have to be able to stand up for what you believe in and I think I’ve done a good job. I guess I don’t have too many regrets.”

Younger sister Serena also features in the magazine interview, hailing Venus for her “strong and powerful” qualities, describing her as an “overachiever”.

Williams isn’t the only high-profile female to distance herself from the feminist label. 

Despite espousing feminist values and being strong advocates for equal rights, stars like Katy Perry, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kelly Clarkson and Susan Sarandon have all distanced themselves from the terminology.

 

Some abhor it as “old-fashioned” while others choose to identify with what they perceive to be less loaded terms, opting for the “humanist” moniker, which funnily enough has nothing to do with equality at all and is actually a Renaissance philosophy that advocates human agency over supernatural superstitions.

Even Judd Apatow, whose TV series Girls was constantly at the vanguard of important conversations surrounding feminism throughout its five-year-run, doesn’t call himself a “feminist”.

What’s in a name? Well, quite a lot, apparently.