Friday, August 3, 2012

More Than Hair

You may have noticed that I didn't post a Dress Like a Girl Post today. While I did make a point to add some sparkle to my day I just was not feeling like talking about being girlie and pretty today.


You see I am a mom to two girls. I struggled so much of my life with feeling unattractive and beating up my body and my self. I don’t want that for my daughters. I want them to always know that they are beautiful and that their bodies are strong.

What does that have to do with adding some sparkle and dressing up a little bit?

Two nights ago a 16 year old girl from Virginia did something amazing, after only making the national team a year ago she won the gold medal in the Women's gymnastics all-around. She did it was class, and grace. She is the type of girl I want my daughters to look up to. I want them to see that girls can be strong and capture the attention and limelight for skills and not looks.

Only the headlines weren’t about her skills.

They weren’t about her smile, her strength, her leadership.

They were about her hair.

Countless articles, tweets and Facebook posts about her hair.

I got so infuriated when I saw someone comment on a friends post with “it was a great performance but I wish the American’s didn’t have such sloppy hair”

I posted this:



Why in 2012 is it still okay to be picking apart a TEENAGER over some mundane physical attribute such as hair.

My heart just hurts today.

It hurts for this ridiculous messed up world that my daughters will have to live in.

It hurts for a sweet 16 year old girl who is having her physical appearance nit picked by couch potatoes around the country.

My heart hurts for a nation that is more concerned with how a girl (woman) looks than what she can do.

Can you image anyone, anyone having this conversation about a male athlete? I mean really? Have you seen Clay Matthews hair?


Laila @OnlyLaila said...

Hair is a sensitive subject in the African American community. Black women probably spend billions of dollars straightening our hair to appeal to White standards of beauty. It's an unfortunate reality. This high level of self-hate manifests itself in crazy ways. In this case, Gabby was the target. Not saying it's right, but to understand why folks are talking about it, you'd have to understand the politics of Black hair.

May said...

In our culture today not only does every person feel they have the right to pass judgement on any other person, most folks have the electronic means to do so publicly. It is a mean society we've created. I don't know why anyone would be willing to subject themselves to the scrutiny-much of it cruel-of serving in any capacity from city council to Team USA. I am glad, however, that some have tough enough skin to do so.

JUlia said...

Oh good grief this is not a black and white hair issue,this is about the amazing achievements of outstanding athletes and the comments were made about all of them not just Gabby,I agree I am sick and tired of hearing all the complaining lets just get behind them with positive attitudes!Only last week everyone had a downer on Micheal Phelps for not winning his first races and now he's doing well everyone is raving about him we live in such a fickle world!!!!

Lisa said...

Sometimes my family makes comments because I don't always fix my daughter's hair. I get especially upset when they target her specifically, "Don't you want to look pretty?" They ask her as if she is any less beautiful because she doesn't like to wear ribbons and bows? So I totally understand and totally agree. But I have also really enjoyed the "Dress Like a Girl" posts. They remind me that I don't have to go "all out" to feel beautiful and that even though I rock my flip flops and yoga pants like a champ, making room for a necklace here and some lipstick there is fun too. I think the key is to remember that however you dress on any given day, girly or not, you need to do it for yourself. Others' opinions don't make any of us any more or less beautiful.

Shell said...

Okay, I'm cringing. Because I'm so guilty. When I watched gymnastics, I actually thought that of the majority of the girls: those messy half bun/ponytail things. I thought why couldn't they have done something prettier? Just because my thought was that even though I tend to wear my hair like that on a regular day, if I were going to be broadcast to the world, I'd want to look better.

You're right, though- it's not what it is about, all. Not the bottom line. Thanks for the reminder. xo

Hyacynth said...

Agreed ... and definitely interested in what Laila was talking about in light of this.

Unknown said...

When I was 6 years old, I was at a movie theater with my mom. While waiting for the movie to start I played a race car game. I wore shorts because it was summer. Two teenagers came up behind my seat and started making fun of my thighs. I'll never forget it. It wasn't like I was overweight at the time either.
Till this day I have horrible self image issues on top of my parents always commenting on my appearance as well.
I NEVER want my children or even younger cousins to go through that. It's a horrible feeling.

Lisa said...

Hey, I like Clay Matthews hair (I'm from WI though) :)

Onto your post though, exactly! I couldn't believe that people were upset about her hair. It's hair. And her hair looked exactly the same as all the other gymnists.

Kim Moldofsky said...

It's not just Gabby's hair (though you are right on), but the fact that with 24/7 social media the athletes are under a microscope attached to a megaphone. Can't we focus on their determination, hard work and amazing performances?