People Are Talking About Gabby Douglas’ Hair Again — & It’s Not Okay

Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.
Four years ago, Gabby Douglas became the first African-American to earn an individual, all-around Olympic title. This week, her team won gold in Rio. And yet, despite the fact that she's brought home three gold medals, the internet continues to focus on one thing that has nothing to do with her athletic ability: her hair. If you're getting a case of déjà vu, there's a good reason. In London in 2012, Douglas' hair was a huge topic of conversation, despite her history-making performance. Back then, words like "unkempt" and "disheveled" were used, but this year the focus seems to be on her edges. The worst part about the criticism might be the fact that a majority of the comments are coming from the Black community — the same people who know, firsthand, just how complicated and touchy the subject of hair can be for women. Douglas addressed the haters four years ago, classily stating: “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.” She continued: “Nothing is going to change. I’m going to wear my hair like this during beam and bar finals. You might as well stop talking about it.” But if we know anything about the internet, it's that people offer a lot of opinions on things they know nothing about. Luckily, a few Twitter users swiftly came to the gymnast's defense, and were quick to remind the critics that the focus should be on Douglas' talents and not what's happening atop her head. Let's all keep that in mind as she continues to kill it, shall we?

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