You would think being an Olympic gold medalist for two separate Games—2012 and 2016—would make an athlete immune to snarky comments about her looks. Alas, you’d be wrong.
Gymnast Gabby Douglas, who, along with her “final five” team won gold last night in the women’s team all-around, has had to endure way too many critics. Not about her form, or whether she stuck the landing, but about her hair.
“Gabby Douglas is pretty af but her hair…” read one tweet.
Another said, “Nah but fr tho, why Gabby Douglas hair not done?”
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Pardon us for a moment while we scream into a pillow. Douglas, who, let us remind you, is a gold medalist from two separate Games, should not have to put up with people questioning or mocking her hair. Let’s go even further: No woman should have to put up with it, regardless of medal count. It’s 2016; who cares what someone’s hair is like?
Thankfully, some Twitter users clapped back at the hair trolls. “Gabby Douglas is in the #Olympics & black women are criticizing her more on her hair than her performance,” user KingJohnLove said.
The worst part of all this is that this is the second time people have come for Douglas and her hair. The same thing happened in 2012. “I love how she’s doing her thing and winning,’’ Latisha Jenkins told The Daily Beast back then. “But I just hate the way her hair looks with all those pins and gel. I wish someone could have helped her make it look better since she’s being seen all over the world. She representing for black women everywhere.’’ Trolls never learn.
The pressure for women to look good while they excel—whether they’re athletes or running for president—is evidence of a double standard that needs to go away. That goes double for black women, who are scrutinized even more. Serena Williams, the greatest tennis player in the world (22 Grand Slams, people), has suffered her fair share of snark about her looks. “It’s okay Maria, Serena might be better but she is ugly as hell…” one Twitter user tweeted last year.
But back to Gabby. Gabby, you’re perfect, you’re brilliant, you’re one of the greatest athletes of all time. And that’s all that matters. Screw the haters.
Don’t get caught doing these hair mistakes: