Following the furore around Serena Williams' on-court "meltdown", I saw a shocking number of men imploring people to "not make this about gender".

But from all I've seen and read on the matter, it clearly is.

When she challenged an umpire's call, it was a "meltdown" and a "tantrum". When so-called "bad boys of tennis" like John McEnroe or Nick Kyrgios did it, it was seen as entertainment value.


Kyrgios has had so many "meltdowns" when you Google him you get a 12-minute supercut of his "top outbursts", and McEnroe's regular outbursts made him a star.

Williams' outburst, on the other hand, made her an "embarrassment" to the sport of tennis.

The bigger problem is that this week has proved Williams is not alone. It's been a rough few days for celebrity women and in particular women of colour.

When Mac Miller passed away at the weekend, the blame was laid squarely at Ariana Grande's feet.

The pop stars dated for two years before breaking up in May, and soon after that Mac Miller broke down and copped a DUI. Fans blamed Grande then, too.

Barely hours after his death hit headlines, she was forced to disable comments on her Instagram account because fans were calling her hateful names, sending death threats and telling her that her ex's death was all her fault.

Over in Hollywood, The Predator star Olivia Munn discovered one of her fellow cast members was a convicted sex offender who served jail time for attempting to entice a minor online.

She reported him and alerted her cast mates and his scenes were cut from the film immediately. In return, she was ostracised by her team - she heard nothing from her director, studio or co-stars and was left to carry the press tour on her own.


Meanwhile, director Shane Black who knew about the conviction but "personally chose to help a friend" anyway, got a standing ovation at the film's premiere.

Are you mad yet? You should be.

These are just two examples of women being held accountable for the actions of men.

But there's more: This has happened the whole way throughout the #MeToo movement too: "Why were you dressed that way? Why did you go to the party? Why didn't you say anything sooner?"

Meryl Streep was the target of a viral street campaign making her out to be a criminal with posters claiming "she knew", as if her silence was on par with Weinstein's actions.

When Kanye West spiralled out of control and said "slavery was a choice", social media looked to the Kardashian women to see how they would "handle" him.

When Beyonce called Jay-Z out for cheating on her, fans chastised her more for forgiving him than they did to him for cheating in the first place.

Even at the funeral of Aretha Franklin - who was mother to four sons - a pastor called out black men for not raising their families, but in the same stroke, said: "70 percent of our households are led by our precious, proud, fine black women. But… black woman cannot raise a black boy to be a man".

Many were outraged, saying it was just another example of old-school resistance to black women holding leadership roles.

Serena Williams is right: Society's expectations of women - and again, particularly women of colour - should 100% be called into question.

When she "had her meltdown" and even when rappers Cardi B and Nicki Minaj got into an altercation at the weekend, there was a massive response from social media and even fellow celebs saying: "What an embarrassment, what a bad example".

Even people who support these women thought they should've "behaved better".

But why do women have to temper their responses to be role models and representatives while men get by because "boys will be boys" engaging in "locker room talk"?

Why does a sexual offender get "a second chance" but a woman, whether she dared to call him out or chose to stay silent, is ostracised either way?

Look at these examples and tell me it's not about gender. It is. It becomes a gender issue when you treat someone differently because of their gender identity, whether that's in your own actions and expectations or the language you use to describe someone else's.

It becomes a gender issue when you reduce an athlete to the "angry black woman" trope and abuse an artist for not "taking care" of a man.

Imagine living in a world where we didn't attack women for wanting to be safe in their workplace, or wanting to be treated like their male counterparts.

Imagine a world in which things weren't made to be about gender.