Gabby Douglas is a more talented and accomplished human at age 20 than most of the population will ever be.
As with anyone enviable in the public eye, Gabby’s decorated Olympic career has attracted an onslaught of unsolicited criticisms.
And, as people who feel entitled to pick apart other people from a distance are wont to do, social media users have been shouting their snap-judgements into their keyboards.
Recently, the major controversy surrounding the gymnast was when Douglasdidn’t put her hand over her heart for the National Anthem. Twitter users interpreted this as a deliberategesture and felt personally obligated to call her out for being unpatriotic.
— Kimberly Ellen (@KimberlyEllen93) August 10, 2016
Um why does the whole gymnastics team except Gabby Douglas put their hand over their heart during the star spangled banner?!? #notokay
— stephanie matacia (@stephmatacia) August 10, 2016
Then, some people moved on to questioning her hair, which was first attacked in 2012.
Who let Gabby Douglas out the house with her hair lookin like that
— Baby T (@TianaaaaNicole) July 11, 2016
Why is Gabby Douglas’ hair still not combed?
WHITLEY (@xotailand_) July 11, 2016
While Douglas’ hair is being scrutinized, her teammate Aly Raisman’s has actually been praised for going against the mold.
The public embraced Raisman’s “messy bun” as endearing (The 22-year-old pulls her hair back the best way she can, she’s just like us!) and emblematic of her competitive focus; she’s more interested in a functional ‘do than matching antiquated aesthetic standards.
It’s great we’re complimenting Raisman’s hair (even though still not centrally related to her routine), but the same treatment wasn’t afforded Douglas.
In an interview with Reuters, Douglas’ mom, Natalie Hawkins, explained the cyberbullying to its full extent.
She’s had to deal with people criticizing her hair, or people accusing her of bleaching her skin. They said she had breast enhancements, they said she wasn’t smiling enough, she’s unpatriotic. Then it went to not supporting your team mates. Now you’re ‘Crabby Gabby.’
Internet trolls really covered a lot of ground with their insults…
You name it and she got trampled. What did she ever do to anyone?
That’s a really good question: What did she ever do to anyone?
Well, she showed the world some of the most jaw-dropping capabilities of the human body, becoming the first African-American gymnast to win the Olympic All-Around gold in 2012. She embodied the belief nothing is impossible with hard work, defying all odds to return to the Olympics. She wrote two books and now boasts three gold medals from the Rio and London Games.