Gabby Douglas and the Big Hair Debate

Gabrielle ”Gabby” Douglas

By Chanelle Bell Gabrielle ”Gabby” Douglas has impressed and wowed the Olympic judges and has represented the US well with her sunny disposition. At 16, she has become the only African American woman to win the all-around Olympic gold and has also led her gymnastic team to victory. So, why is it that, instead of receiving accolades, she is being cyber bullied? The hottest topic in American media is Gabby’s hair.  Americans, mainly African Americans, have been ridiculing Gabby for having “unkempt” hair while competing. The complaints are all rooted in the notion that Gabby is not only representing the US in the Olympic Games but all African Americans, and she is giving a negative impression of Black hair. When Gabby saw the internet bashing, she said, “I don’t know where this is coming from. 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 hair, ” Gabby said. It is ludicrous for people to ridicule Gabby’s hair when she is making such huge steps for the future of African Americans in gymnastics. Her sport requires her to throw her body in the air and do outstanding twists and turns – who has time to worry if a strand of hair is out of place? Gabby’s mother Natalie Hawkins was enraged when she heard the vicious talk about her daughter’s hair, saying, “How ignorant is it of people to comment on her hair, and she still has more competitions to go. Are you trying to ruin her self-confidence?” Instead of supporting our Olympian, we have been degrading her. Gabby, who has consistently dominated the competition, came in last on the uneven bars this past Monday. She was not her effervescent self. I hope it wasn’t because the people of this country, at the end of the day, don’t have her back.
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