Golden Gabby Douglas' Hair Flak Is Silly, Ridiculous and Misses Olympic Point

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterAugust 2, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02:  Gabrielle Douglas of the United States looks on during the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Individual All-Around final on Day 6 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 2, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It's a shame, because many of you missed a brilliant moment in Olympic history, all because you were busy paying attention to Gabby Douglas' hair. 

Lauren McEwen wrote a fine piece for The Washington Post, highlighting a ridiculous issue that has sprung from the transom of women's gymnastics. 

Apparently, people are talking about Gabrielle Douglas' hair. 

Gabby Douglas’s hair has been the topic of a ton of e-chatter for the past few days. After the 16-year-old Olympian sported a gelled-down ponytail – much like the ‘do’s of her fellow gymnasts – black Twitter lit up with comments from both men and women, complaining that her hair looked unkempt.

There is simply no way to get around how upsetting this is, and the hope is the tweets change throughout Thursday as word leaks that Douglas is golden twice over. 

The young phenom who was forever in the shadow of gymnast Jordyn Wieber has emerged as the all-around superstar, taking gold on Thursday evening from London. 

Before tonight, there was a great deal of vitriol for her hair though. 

Here are some of the tweets collected by McEwen.

The tweet is an equal-opportunity hater. 

i don't care... 16 or 26 , black or white ... gabby douglas' hair is ratch..

— Cody Dilla-Cudi(@_ihateCody) August 1, 2012

A call for help, despite the U.S. being on their way to winning gold, and Douglas being in the midst of winning two.

Just a thought... Can Destinee Hooker PLEASE help Gabby Douglas with her hair?Actually anyone on the v ball team...

— Briana Wiggins (@CoPuffCo) August 1, 2012

There is simply no way I can lend thoughts on the cultural significance of this drama. McEwen does a great job of pulling this in explaining what might be going on here. 

They are the same insecurities that cause my (usually very enlightened) mother to act like a wrinkled shirt is the end of the world. She doesn’t want me to go out in the world (read: in front of white people) looking messy. Not only does she want me to perform well, she wants me to look good doing it – to leave no room for the criticism that she feared growing up in the 1960’s.

I can empathize, with a mother (albeit Latina) who is concerned with how I present myself. It's always been an important part of my upbringing. 

While I can't speak to the deeper-seated sentiment this follows from in the African-American community, I can see where McEwen is going with this. 

Still, for those still concerned with Douglas' hair, you are missing the point completely. 

A great American has just stood toe-to-toe with the best in the world, smiled brilliantly in the face of immense pressure and took home gold. 

Every last part of that image is beautiful. 

By the way, it's hard to see anything else past that golden smile. 

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