NEW YORK (AP) – Tennis icon Billie Jean King is not mincing words about the many white women who voted for Donald Trump, saying they “really don’t like themselves.”
King, who led the fight for equal pay for women in tennis, also says she feels there is more misogyny now than when she defeated Bobby Riggs in the famous “Battle of the Sexes” match in 1973, the subject of the new movie starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell.
“I think there’s a lot of misogyny – I think it’s higher now than it was,” King said in an interview Tuesday evening at a Manhattan awards ceremony. She was being honored by the Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation, which provides gymnastics programs to underserved communities.
“I’m really upset with women, actually,” King said. “I’m upset with the white women that voted for Mr. Trump. I think they really don’t like themselves … I think a lot of women don’t like themselves.” She added: “Girls are brought up to be perfect and boys are brought up to be brave. Well, a girl can never be perfect. So we never can win.”
In November, 53 percent of white women voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton, exit polls showed.
King, 73, has been back in the headlines in recent weeks, promoting “Battle of the Sexes.” The film, in addition to chronicling the match that drew up to 90 million TV viewers, depicts King’s budding secret relationship with Marilyn Barnett, while she was married to then-husband Larry King. (Barnett later outed King in an unsuccessful palimony suit, causing the tennis star to lose thousands of dollars in endorsements.)
King, who has since become an activist for LGBT rights, also harshly criticized Trump’s proposed ban on transgender people serving in the military, and expressed the hope that the movie inspires activism in a new generation.
“I really want the millennials and the Gen Z to see this movie, because every generation has to fight for freedom and equality,” she said. “Every single generation. It never ends and you always keep starting over with every generation … And if this helps one person be more comfortable in their own skin, if it helps a parent to understand better about their own child or a relative or a friend and if that helps give some comfort or be more comfortable as well, then that’s what I want from this.”