The Olympics & Gabby’s Hair

By: *Staci Pesin

Blog Category: Race & Economics in the Media

I would consider myself quite the expert in pop culture.  My weekly subscriptions to Us Weekly and People magazine would not normally lend to a professional blog topic, but in this case I had the perfect source.  US weekly featured an article in the “Beauty” Section that focused on Gabby Douglas, two time Olympic gold medalist.   However, this article was not published to praise the sixteen year old on her accomplishments as a world champion.


During the 2012 Summer Olympics, Douglas was a hot topic in the media for her athletic accomplishments and surprisingly for her personal appearance.  The controversy specifically centered on the African American community criticizing Douglas for her hairstyle during the Olympics.  Douglas was seen throughout the Olympics wearing her hair in a ponytail with barrettes and gel. Her hair was chemically-straightened.  Douglas, according to critics, did not properly represent her culture with this hairstyle.


Gabby Douglas is a gymnast, an Olympic champion, a world class athlete, and most importantly, a role model to young girls. She was competing in the Olympics, not a beauty pageant.  The fact that Douglas needs to worry about responding, and in some essence defending herself, for wearing her hair a certain way while competing is “disrespectful and ignorant,” according to Douglas.  I agree with her.  Anything that people say to make headlines seems to be the trend.


Actress Gabrielle Union and Olympic athlete Serena Williams have defended Douglas on Twitter.  Hey, if people are “tweeting” you have to be pretty popular.  For Douglas, the negative publicity seems to have subsided, however, the good thing is that she is still making headlines for her athletic accomplishments.


The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.


*Staci Pesin is currently the Senior Managing Editor on the Widener Journal of Law, Economics and Race. To learn more about Staci Pesin, click the link to view her page: Staci Pesin

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