Gabby Douglas Experienced Sexist Cyberbullying During The Olympics

Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Variety/REX/Shutterstock.
Many women have encountered strangers on the street or the train who told them to smile. And it appears that when you're a public figure, that's multiplied. Gabby Douglas told Teen Vogue that she's had to deal with this comment again and again over the Internet.

During the Olympics in particular, Douglas was bullied for not appearing as cheery as some people would have liked.

"Going from 2012, I was this smiley, bubbly Gabby," she explained. "And in 2014 to 2016, I was like, I'll be a little more mature, a little more sass. And everyone was like, what's wrong with her? She's not smiling, something's wrong. And I'm like, no, this is mature Gabby. I love to laugh, there's nothing wrong with that."

The harassment got so bad that she cried on a daily basis and wasn't even excited to win a gold medal.

Now that she's gotten better at tuning them out, she has some advice for the many other people dealing with cyberbullying.

"People need to stand up for themselves," she said. "Because this is a big issue and it's not right for people to do this to other human beings...You need to be held accountable."

But most importantly, she says, remember that the opinions of Internet trolls don't reflect who you really are.

"You shouldn't feel pressure to change yourself," she advised. "That's what I did and it ended up doing more damage...Always be strong, and you can overcome it, you really can."
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