I wanted to talk to you about our little one Gabby Douglas. At sixteen years old, Gabby has become an Olympic Gold medalist, ranking her a world-class gymnast. The online support for her has been wonderful. The #GoGabby hashtags during competition and the many gifs of the Virginia native in truly impossible poses are enough to make me want to attempt the splits…Don’t worry, I’m not.
The problem is the other chatter.
There’s an ongoing conversation taking place, both online and off, about Gabby’s hair. Apparently some find it ‘unkempt’ and are displeased. Even more surprising is that this discussion isn’t taking place amongst white people, or fellow gymnasts or even young men trying to see what’s good – but instead, the majority of the criticism is taking place amongst other Black women.
A simple twitter search of Gabby’s name produces a mixed bag of commentary, with a great majority of negativity generated from other women of color, complaining about Gabby’s need for a perm. It would be easy to simply say it’s a matter of taste, but really there’s a bigger issue here, that as we continue to grow as a culture, we are going to have to address. We are not our hair.