Gabby Douglas is an Olympic gold medallist and part of probably the greatest gymnastics team of all time. However, judging from some comments online, these achievements are simply not worthy enough of praise or even a mention. This is because the way her hair looked whilst showing off her brilliant skills is way more important. Unfortunately, it isn’t the first time that Gabby Douglas was subject to online trolls. During the London 2012 Olympics, comments about how untidy her hair was and how her edges were a problem cropped up online. Of course, this should have been the focus and not her awesome athleticism at the tender age of 16, *note the sarcasm*. Cruel comments about Gabby’s hair shows how black women’s hair is up for consumption. However, what is more disappointing is that a lot of these comments came from black women. In a society where afro textured hair isn’t good enough, braids aren’t suitable for work or women who have their hair in a weave are “trying to be white”, it’s disappointing that some black women act like the hair police and castigate women for what they choose to do with their OWN hair.

Another victim of this shameless hair policing was a child and this was Blue Ivy, the daughter of Beyonce and Jay-Z. A petition was started urging Beyonce to take care of her daughter’s hair and comb it. What may have been cast as a simple joke was in fact a cruel attack on a child just because her hair wasn’t deemed perfect or beautiful. For some reason, women (and sadly children) in the public eye have to be flawless but what the hair police doesn’t understand is that decision cannot be theirs. The hair shaming is similar to that of the Fashion Police, the show where celebrities were judged for what they wore. However, if they felt they looked fabulous, who are we to say otherwise?

So no. There isn’t a gold standard for hair. Gabby Douglas is focusing on winning gold for herself and her country, everyone should agree what her hair looks like is the very least of her concerns. Gabby embodied  #blackgirlmagic even before it became a hashtag. This is what we should all strive for and what a person’s hair may or may not look like should not take away from achieving it.

 

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