fueling more ridiculous debate about her hair
Whether it was badminton teams losing matches on purpose, dubious refereeing in the fencing competition or North Korean soccer players taking the field under the wrong flag, the London Games featured plenty of controversy.
None of it is more frivolous or absurd, however, than the flap about how U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas wears her hair.
Critics first complained that Douglas’ ponytail looked unkempt when the 16-year-old was winning gold in both the women’s team and all-around competitions. Now she’s receiving backlash for bowing to public pressure and receiving a makeover from a celebrity stylist upon returning home from London.
Before she began a week-long publicity blitz that included appearances on the Tonight Show, The Late Show and America’s Got Talent, Douglas hired New York-based stylist Ted Gibson to do her hair. Gibson, who works with Angelina Jolie and Anne Hathaway and also appears on the reality series What Not To Wear, gave Douglas a new look with a middle part and waves that fall just below her shoulders.
That Douglas has received criticism for getting a highly publicized makeover this week is almost as laughable as the response to her hairstyle during competition.
What elite athlete would be more concerned with her hair than her performance during the Olympics? And what 16-year-old girl wouldn’t want to look her best before a week’s worth of appearances on reality TV and the late-night talk show circuit?
Douglas had it exactly right last week when she brushed off her critics by telling reporters she was more focused on winning Olympic gold than looking perfect during every routine. And she’ll have it exactly right again this week if she explains she got a haircut to look her best on camera.
This is a 16-year-old girl who has handled Olympic pressure and media scrutiny with poise and grace so far. How about we stop paying so much attention to her hair and start giving her more credit for that?
Source: By Jeff Eisenberg | Fourth-Place Medal
It is shameful that many people in the African American community have overshadowed Gabby’s success by criticizing her hair. Yes, she was on television for the entire world to see, but people there is more to life than hair and there is definitely more to life than appearances. All this chatter around “Gabby Douglas gotta do something with this hair! These clips and this brown gel residue aint it” and “Gabby Douglas needs to tame the beady beads in the back of her hair.” is unnecessary and just highlights how shallow and superficial many of us are.
How about focusing more on fitness than hair. There are thousands of African Americans suffering from illnesses brought on my poor diets and lack of exercise. Many women are constricted by their hair refusing to swim or exercise because of the effect it may have on their hair. What were you doing when Gabby was practicing for the Olympics? Sitting on the couch eating a bag of Cheetos, while looking up the latest natural hair YouTube video? Your hair looks great, but your dying from poor lifestyle choices? You don’t want to exercise because you don’t want to sweat out your perm or wear a headscarf to the gym?Would you prefer to be in shape like Gabby Douglas or have a killer blow out or twist out?
For decades we have forgone extracurricular activities like swimming, camping and hiking because we just can’t get our hair messed up. Although many of us have joined #teamnatural, we still have a defeatist attitude where what we do is controlled by our hair. If Gabby were like the average woman she may not have won two gold metals because she would be too concerned that all that flipping, jumping and sweating may interfere with her hair. Many Olympic female athletes wear their hair in ponytails with clips. Why are we only focusing on Gabby?
We praise those crazy Basketball Wives and Love & Hip Hop reality stars because they wear Louboutins with weaves down to their backsides-paid for by laying on their back. But we criticize a woman who is magnificent and made her country proud because of her passion for a sport? Not every woman is going to be a glamour girl, we just need to accept that. It is OK to be who you are, flaws and all. Let’s stop all this negativity and give Gabby the praise and recognition she deserves.
In the words of Gabby: “What’s wrong with my hair? I’m like, ‘I just made history and people are focused on my hair?’ It can be bald or short; it doesn’t matter about [my] hair.”