The Topic of Olympic Gymnast Gabby Douglas’ Hair Should Not Trump Her Talent


Below is an excerpt from the Dodai Stewart written article that has accurately been entitled, Haters Need to Shut Up About Gabby Douglas’ Hair. And, that they do. Under no circumstance should the topic of Gabby Douglas’ hair have trumped her talents and abilities, because if we compare Gabby’s Olympics 2012 experience to that of her other Team U. S. A Gymnastics members [who are all caucasian], who received a gold medal for their outstanding performance just two days ago – well…there really would be no comparison, since no one seems to give a darn about their hair. Gabby’s currently the number one contender for the gold medal in the Women’s Individual All-Round Final. Let’s hope that the young woman maintains her momentum and isn’t at all fazed by the nonsensical display of self-hate gone viral that she’s been facing over the past couple of days.

Check out a snippet of the article:

  • As of yesterday, 16-year-old Gabby Douglas is officially an Olympic gold medalist. But some people watching her compete weren’t focusing on her floor exercise — they were distracted by her hair.

Monisha Randolph, who runs a blog called Sporty Afros, has been dismayed with what she’s seen:

So what’s the big deal about Gabby’s hair? From what I am reading on Facebook and Twitter, many African American women who are SITTING and WATCHING Gabby compete believe her hair is not “kept.”

She needs some gel and a brush…

Someone needs to give her a hair intervention…

She has to “represent”…

And indeed, if you search “Gabby Douglas hair” on Twitter, you get quite a few results. A tragic amount, to be honest. As Randolph writes:

Have we forgotten that Gabby is competing at Olympics XXX? This is not America’s Next Top Model that we’re watching. These ladies are participating in a global athletic competition. And the last time I checked when you play a sport, you sweat. I know I do. And when a Black woman who has chosen to wear her hair straight begins to sweat, her hair will (not might) begin to revert back to its natural coily, curly, or kinky state. Does Gabby need to stop every five minutes to check her hair? No. When one experiences back-to-back intense workouts, that person learns what works best on their hair.

Randolph also points out: “A large number of Black women do not work out because of their beloved hairstyle. This is so sad and this is why Sporty Afros was created. We are here to help women with their workout hair care solutions and crush excuses such as ‘I can’t workout because of my hair.'”

Recently, a New York magazine writer called investing in the Naturally Curly website a “dumb” idea. This sparked a backlash; and as the blogger behind Black Girl With Long Hair writes, “I think there are people both within and outside of the black community who are still ignorant about the increasing influence of textured/natural hair on media, business and culture.” There have also been controversies surrounding the hairstyles of First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters. (Even a Photoshopped mock-up of Michelle Obama with natural hair sparked a shitstorm of controversy.)

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  • Dei

    It’s funny because if white women were saying these things about Gabby, they would’ve called it racism. It’s just sad. I mean, I noticed her hair was not in its best state obviously, but damn, the girl’s an athlete, she doesn’t have time to be bothering with her hair.

    • So so so true my dear!

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