When watching gold medalist Gabby Douglas do her epically amazing and historic thing on the beam, vault, bars and floor, the last thing on my mind is her hair. I am paying attention to her technique, her form, her magic – not how she styled her tresses. Her talents, her gifts and her performances are what should be the focus when we talk about her, but somehow how her hair stole the show for some, and not in a good way.
As our own Carolyn Castiglia said in her piece Splitting Hairs: Why Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas Faces Criticism About Her ‘Do, “being an Olympic champ hasn’t left Gabby Douglas immune to criticism. Unfortunately, one of the most talked-about subjects during these Olympic Games – on Twitter, at least – has been Gabby Douglas’s hair. Specifically, what’s wrong with her hair.”
Critics said her hair was “unkempt” and “embarrassing.” It became a hot topic, and one that Gabby’s mom Natalie Hawkins is now addressing. What did she say?
In an interview with former Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes on the Today Show, Hawkins said she was confused by the comments: “I was looking at the pictures and I was like, ‘I’m missing it,’ because I don’t see what they’re talking about. I mean, she doesn’t have fly-aways all sticking out, it’s not like it’s all over her head. It’s pulled back into a ponytail.”
Hawkins told Fashionista.com that Gabby hasn’t had the time, or the opportunity, to style her hair. “She lives with a white host family and they don’t know anything about taking care of her hair,” she said. ”And there’s no black salons in their area — not one. We had to work really hard to find a stylist to come and do her hair… It’s really been African-American women that have come out and attacked her. They don’t know about gymnastics. She has to keep her hair in a ponytail 28-30 hours a week.”
Many have come to Gabby’s defense. Al Roker tweeted Tuesday, “Anybody who has a problem w/Gabby Douglas’ hair needs to sit down and be quiet. Enjoy and focus on the accomplishments.”
Gabby even addressed the topic herself. “I don’t know where this is coming from. What’s wrong with my hair?” Douglas said to Sports Illustrated. “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.”
Photo Source: @gabrielledoug/Twitter