Gabby’s Hair? What About Those Banana Shoes?

Gabby Douglas, first African-American winner of the Women’s Gymnastics All Around Gold, is confused. Frankly, I’m confused as well.

Gabby Douglas, image from wikimedia by Xxjenesaispasxx

When 16-yr-old Gabby googled herself a few hours after achieving the highest accomplishment in Olympic women’s gymnastics, she found that people weren’t only tweeting about her success, they were tweeting criticisms about her hair!

“Gabby Douglas, you made history w/your impeccable talent and hideous hair.” @BReeMonroe

“We, as a black community, gotta fix Gabby Douglas’s hair.” @Sarocious

“Congrats to Gabby Douglas on her gold metal! Wish I could say the same about that hair! OMG horrible!” @shestaken

Seriously! I never cease to be amazed at people and their priorities.

How can they possibly be criticizing little Gabby Douglas for her hair when there have been far more egregious fashion faux pas from every corner of the Olympic compound?

Take Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Who cares that she won a repeat gold in the women’s 100 meter dash when it’s overshadowed by the fact that her tag was sticking up out of her running shorts when she crossed the finish line?

Then there are the Women’s Beach Volleyball bikini bottoms. What difference does all that hustle and jump make when those ladies have more crack than the entire city of Detroit?

Hello? Men’s track stars? You’re really wearing those banana shoes?

And don’t even get me started on those horses in the equestrian events. Some of them made no effort to restrain their free-flowing tails, showing no respect for the fact that they were jumping more obstacles than average Americans do when collecting their own money from their medical flexible spending accounts.

Don’t these athletes realize that no matter what they do, the most important thing when they are on TV is their hair? Where is the Olympic Committee in all of these uniform travesties? Why aren’t they stopping these fashion fails?

Bottom line? This young lady traveled 20 hours from home to live with strangers so that she could train with a great coach. She left her family and friends to follow a dream at only fourteen. She not only went to school but worked what amounted to a full time job in preparing for this event. She could dye her hair purple, wear it in dreadlocks, or even shave her head and it wouldn’t detract one bit from how lovely she is.

I appreciated the sentiment of this “Pulp Fiction” spoof.


What athletes are impressing you during this Olympic Games?

All the best to all of you for a week of knowing what’s important.

Piper Bayard—The Pale Writer of the Apocalypse

38 comments on “Gabby’s Hair? What About Those Banana Shoes?

  1. They should lay off this young lady, whose talent is clearly obvious. My favorite athlete (though he failed to qualify for his event in the end) was Oscar Pistorius of South Africa, the double amputee competing with full-bodied runners. If that’s not inspirational I don’t know what is.

    • Piper Bayard says:

      Is he amazing, or what? I LOVED seeing his race and hearing his story. I hope every child who is “different” will see his success and not let themselves be limited by labels or nay-sayers.

  2. Those that can’t criticize those who can and do. Mean ugly world.

  3. EllieAnn says:

    She’s a star. And so awesome I want to shield her from all that crap. She actually lives one hour away from me.

  4. People are funny, aren’t they. They pat you on the back, then turn around and talk behind your back. Maybe they think they are keeping her grounded, Don’t want her to get a fat head now do we. Gabby you did what no one else could do and you proved it by winning that gold and I for one am very proud of you.You are a beautiful young lady.

    • Piper Bayard says:

      It appears to be exclusively African-Americans who are criticizing her hair, and some have said it’s because her hair makes her look like a servant on “The Help.” They are concerned about the image of African-Americans at large. I’m absolutely not playing Devil’s Advocate here. I think their attitude does far more to harm any racial image than Gabby’s hair, which I, personally, didn’t notice as being different from any other gymnast’s hair. We will all be better off when people of every race are just people and capable of recognizing a beautiful young lady when they see one.

  5. Cristin Harber says:

    I didn’t know that was said about her. What is wrong with people? Priorities are all kinds of messed up. Yesterday I was on a popular celebrity gossip blog and they were delving into her mother. They lost a reader for life.

    Gabby Douglas isn’t someone who should be on a looks hit or miss list (never mind that she is so stinking cute, even while doing physical feats that pretty much defy the laws of gravity) or gossip blog fodder. She should be thanked and congratulated. I hope she takes every endorsement that comes her way and ignores the morons who want to hate.

    • Piper Bayard says:

      Me, too. And I hope she doesn’t change her hair. In fact, I’m still struggling to figure out why her ponytail would be any more offensive to anyone than every other gymnast’s ponytail. I’d love to see a Gabby Hair fad. Beats the heck out of spikes, stripes, or dreadlocks.

  6. Richard Snow says:

    The critics should get a gold medal (not metal) for stupidity. And for not knowing how to spell medal.

  7. Omigosh Piper! This is among your best! And that video is bang-up! Outstanding!

  8. Tami Clayton says:

    So glad you did a post on this! I’m appalled that people find it necessary to comment on things like that. So disrespectful and ridiculous. LOVED the video.

    All of the athletes are inspiring to me. No matter what you think about the politics and media coverage of the Olympics, the athletes are truly amazing.

  9. Jeff says:

    I’m equally baffled by the “to-do” over Gabby’s “do.” She’s an amazing athlete. I never noticed her hair at all. Also impressed by our swimmer girls. Umm…Missy Franklin, is that right? And that 15-year-old that won a gold medal. Wow. Katie Ledecky, that’s it. Thanks, Google. My favorite Olympic name this year, however, has to go to Ranomi Kromowidjojo. Sometimes I just randomly say “Kromowidjojo.” It’s much easier to say than type.

    • Piper Bayard says:

      Great examples of brilliant athletes. Those swimmin women seriously kicked butt. I had not heard about Kromowidjojo, but now that name is stuck in my head. It’s oddly pleasant, though. 🙂

  10. Stacy Green says:

    How awful. I had no idea this had happened. This kid just did something AMAZING and handled herself with class. Who cares about her hair – she’s the one busting her butt doing something all these critics can’t even fathom doing.

  11. Jenny Hansen says:

    Yep…I thought those tweets were over the top and completely inappropriate. Plus, her hair looked like every other freaking gymnast’s hair! *shakes head*

  12. Donna Newton says:

    I can’t see what’s wrong with her hair. Am I missing something?

  13. That Gabby though, she had some cool replies to the hair haters. She was like, who cares about my hair? I just won a gold medal! She’s awesome and I’m so happy for her. To be so young, on such a huge world stage, and to carry yourself with that much dignity ~ I. Just. Love. Her.

  14. Julie Glover says:

    Well, there go my Olympic dreams. I’m calling my coach today to quit because I don’t think my hair would pass muster.

    I had heard something about people cricitizing Gabby’s hair, but I didn’t know why. She looked like a perfectly normal, sweet 16-year-old girl to me–even if she could actually kick my butt like a ninja-gone-wild with her taut gymnastic build. Hair schmair, let’s move on to applauding her talent, commitment, and perserverance. Great post, Piper!

  15. KM Huber says:

    What a great post, Piper! Gabby really does seem to have her stuff together; the world is a better place because of her. You know, the similarity between between the words twit and twitter haunts me more than it should but just when I think I am being unfair….

    Thanks, Piper. I hope Gabby and all the Olympians find your blog post.


  16. Dave says:

    I’m not sure what all the complaints are about either. The Italian women’s Beach Volleyball Team was superbly attired – and it showed.

  17. Great post Piper. These people should be ashamed of themselves! Although, it says more about THEM than it does Gabby.
    Gabby did an outstanding job. I cried when she won gold. I think she is one of the most beautiful and impressive young women and what she accomplished (and what she had to do to get there) is remarkable.
    To be honest, each and every single athlete that made it to the Olympics (or any level in their sport) is a hero in my books.

  18. For my own well-being, I’ve learnt never to comment on a girl’s hair.


  19. Yeah, I was pretty darn confused when I heard people were even talking about this. To the untrained eye (everyone) her hair looks like she wears it just like…Oh, I don’t know…every other gymnast I’ve ever seen.

  20. Bravo! Well said Piper!

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