Serena Williams sings 'I Touch Myself' to raise awareness for breast cancer
Serena Williams is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Whether she's smashing it on court and being crowned the best female athlete in the world, or speaking out about the double standard that women face in the industry, one thing is for sure: her star is only on the rise.
Now, Williams has used her body to campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The tennis player, who holds the most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles among active players, went topless and sang a cover of Divinyls' I Touch Myself, and the result is seriously powerful.
Williams uploaded the clip to Instagram, and accompanied it with the following caption: "This Breast Cancer Awareness Month I’ve recorded a version of The Divinyls global hit “I Touch Myself” to remind women to self-check regularly."
"Yes, this put me out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to do it because it’s an issue that affects all women of all colors, all around the world. Early detection is key - it saves so many lives. I just hope this helps to remind women of that," she continued.
"The music video is part of the I Touch Myself Project which was created in honor of celebrated diva, Chrissy Amphlett, who passed away from breast cancer, and who gave us her hit song to remind women to put their health first. The project is proudly supported by @BerleiAus for Breast Cancer Network Australia."
Williams, who gave birth to her first child, Alexis Olympia Ohanian last year, recently opened up about her struggle with body positivity growing up.
"It was hard for me. People would say I was born a guy, all because of my arms, or because I’m strong," the 37-year-old said when speaking to Harper Bazaar UK. "I was different to Venus: she was thin and tall and beautiful, and I am strong and muscular – and beautiful, but, you know, it was just totally different.’
The tennis star, who is the youngest of five daughters born to Oracene Price, has faced body-shaming and misogynist abuse since her early days in the sport. Back in 2014, the head of the Russian Tennis Federation, Shamil Tarpischev, was fined $25,000 and suspended for a year by the WTA for referring to Serena and her sister Venus as the "Williams brothers", and asserting that "It's scary when you really look at them".
Although Serena vowed early on in her career to never read anything that was written about her, she was unable to completely withstand the societal pressure to lose weight. In 2004, one journalist revealed that in a list of goals that a 22-year-old Serena had written, one was to get down to a size four. The others were to win Wimbledon, the French Open, and the Italian Open.
"Oh God, I’ll never be a size 4! Why would I want to do that, and be that?" she said to Harper's Bazaar on the topic. "This is me, and this is my weapon and machine. But I love that I said that, because I can understand. I can show Olympia that I struggled, but now I’m happy with who I am and what I am and what I look like... Olympia was born and she had my arms, and instead of being sad and fearful about what people would say about her, I was just so happy."