Gabby Douglas' Hair Sparks Debate: Why?

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American teenager Gabby Douglas has been wowing the world with grace, style, and of course, the women's all-around gymnastics gold medal.

Nevertheless, much of the chatter on social media and online platforms has been about the upkeep of her hair, and not all feedback is positive.

Douglas, one of the few African-American gymnasts ever to compete in the Olympics and the first to win all-around gold, is an inspiring story.

Time and Sports Illustrated have her on their covers. President Barack Obama called to congratulate her. So why do people care about Gabby Douglas' hair?!

Gabby Douglas Hair

“I love how she’s doing her thing and winning,’’ says 22-year-old Latisha Jenkins of Detroit told The Daily Beast. “But I just hate the way her hair looks."

"With all those pins and gel ... I wish someone could have helped her make it look better since she’s being seen all over the world."

"She representing for black women everywhere.’’

According to reports, the 4'11" Douglas appears to have chemically relaxed natural hair, to which she adds a human-hair ponytail for height.

The Olympic champ then apparently slicks it all back with a heavy layer of gel to help it stay in place during her high-energy performances.

Gabby Douglas Ponytail

Hair has always been something of a hot button issue for African-American women culturally, but in the case of Douglas, isn't the criticism a little much?

Douglas’ accomplishments speak for themselves ... for the conversation to turn to a teenager’s physical appearance and upkeep seems a bit unfair.

Do you like her hair? Does it matter? Tell us what you think.


Stupid. Just damn stupid. This is the Olympics, not a hair show. Rather than be proud that there is now another role model reflecting a positive image of Black America, we get...THIS... God forbid a black woman makes it on the Olympic swim team or dive team, then we'll have to hear questions like, " why does she have to get her hair wet"? Why do I reside on this planet?


All gymnasts wear their hair that way. It's for function not form.


first of all i like to say shame on all of those fools criticizing my girls hair. She did not go for beauty competition, she went for gold and she made us proud. The least you can say to her is THANK YOU GABBY, but NO! we have to say something negative about her, she is 16 and the only black girl not woman to set this day in history...Latisha Jenkins you are a black woman and a writer, your comments disgust me after looking at your photo. She is not representing all black women she is representing AMERICA! keep your mouth shut and support your girl, when she comes home then you can go fix her hair with your big mouth, WHERE IS YOUR GOLD? to all who has a problem with the way my girl looks. GO GABBY GO if possible bring back everything leave nothing, if the have a wooden medal, baby bring it. GOD BLESS AMERICA - may God punish the haters.


Her hair should not even be a topic of discussion. This is a little girl, 16 years old. We should be bringing her up and showing her plenty of love, not bring her down. We need to learn to encourage children not discourage. Stop putting all the focus on looks and more focus on education.
Rise up people, Rise up.


How her hair looks does NOT matter. She is comfortable and that is all that matters. The world has always tried to bring the black woman down using her hair and some of us are so weak that we allow it to work. What happened to the strong black women out there? For us to be so strong, we sure do let a little issue of hair style knock us flat on our butts. Smh. Get that Gold Gabby! Ignore the ignorance. We are not our hair!


Why is everybody so focused on her hair she is a beautiful smart young lady the focus she be on her becoming the first african american gymnast to win a gold olympic medal get a grip people she at 16 obviously has her priorities in order its some of you stupid adults that dont


I feel like she maybe should have put a little more effort ino her hair...yes she did great but it was a mess...did anyone notice her mothers hair looked anyway people on tv are examend with a fine tooth comb..people will find anything to talk about u...i notied every other competitors hair was done and beautiful to a T with glitter and the works...and your image plays a big role in society and knowing that she could posibly win the gold medal and be in history books I think I would want to be looking my best like EVERYONE ELSE!!!


My son had cancer and was treated for it. I spent months in a cancer ward with children with NO HAIR. When I was serving my country I would go days without being able to comb my hair out and wash it . What did hair matter .That is what helmets are for to cover it. She is not in a beauty pageant. She is in the Olympics ALL OF VIRGINIA IS PROUD OF HER.With that red uniform she is like a rocket flying in the air.How the heck can you see the hair. She is lovely young lady. Anyone hating has inhaled to much relaxer fumes . Forget the Afro-American title she is just an American girl who has done her country proud.


I'm black myself and her hair is her hair! Us as black people need to stop being so myopic and superficial. I think everyone commenting on her hair in a negative light should jus let the young lady have her moment...and stop being ignorant


her performance represents itself. you people are sickos.

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