'It's creeping me out': Tennis star slams critics urging her to 'maintain innocent image'

Elizabeth Di Filippo
·3 min read

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Naomi Osaka is speaking out after receiving messages from fans chastising her for wearing what she pleases.

The 22-year-old tennis star went on the defence after posting several photos of herself soaking up the summer sun in a bikini.

Like any 20-something, Osaka frequently shares photos and videos from her life off the court, including snaps from her downtime poolside. Earlier this month, Osaka began receiving messages criticizing her body and claiming the athlete was no longer a suitable role model for young girls.

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“Is that pregnancy or quarantine stomach?” one person commented on Osaka’s July 19 photo, in which she posed poolside in a silver mini-dress.

In a separate post, Osaka showed off a pair of Nike sneakers while wearing blue swimsuit bottoms and a yellow sweatshirt. The post, which Osaka captioned “Shoe game proper” triggered backlash from followers for being “improper.”

“I don't get why you would post half naked pics of yourself,” one person wrote. “Have some class... you don't need to do this.”

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Osaka was also told by fans to cover herself up and “save that for your husband” and received comments from others suggesting she was being “exploited” by her team.

The criticism prompted a reply from Osaka, who tweeted that the comments about her body and how she should present herself was out of line and unwarranted.

“I just wanna say it’s creeping me out how many people are commenting at me to maintain my ‘innocent image’ and ‘don’t try to be someone you’re not.’” Osaka wrote. “You don’t know me, I’m 22, I wear swimsuits to the pool. Why do you feel like you can comment on what I can wear?”

The tweet prompted thousands of replies from fans who encouraged Osaka to be herself, and disregard her trolls.

“It’s your body. If you’re comfortable, that’s all that matters. This idea of ‘keeping innocent’ is societal pressure that men and some women don’t want you to become a WOMAN, and you are a woman,” one fan wrote to Osaka. “Wear what feels good. Be the woman you are. You don’t owe anyone a justification.”

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