Gabby Douglas is the definition of a rock star. Her hard work, dedication, and talent have led her to the Olympics twice, and have brought about some huge wins for the US. Despite all this, Douglas was the subject of some nasty cyber-bullying during her time at Rio this past summer.
While the gymnast was flipping and leaping across the Olympic stage, people were disregarding her accomplishments and extraordinary athleticism by talking about her hair! Thousands took to Twitter to complain about Douglas’ hairstyle, saying it should have been styled better even though it followed the regulations for her event.
This is seriously disheartening. A woman is kicking ass in the Olympics, and people are reducing her to her physical appearance.
The internet went on to complain that Douglas was not being a supportive teammate because she was not smiling enough during her teammates’ performances. This is seriously troubling, as it makes it seem as if it is a competition to be the most supportive of your teammates, which is a classic example of pitting successful women against one another.
“Sometimes you have to be like a waterproof jacket. When people throw water on you it rolls right off you…Even when people say ‘I hate you’ [say] ‘I still love you.’”
Douglas’s ability to stay positive and focus on the overwhelming support she was also receiving helped her get through the negativity of her critics.
She went on to say, “I didn’t qualify to certain competitions that I worked so hard for. So when people didn’t get that, like, [they would say] ‘Oh, why is she mad?’ Because I literally broke my body for this sport. If you don’t get what you want, like a job or something, you’re gonna be sad! It’s human nature. So when people didn’t get that, I was devastated.”
It is discouraging to see people chalk up her frustration to being a bad teammate or even a poor sport, but Douglas makes sure to set the record straight. She is a formidable athlete, and gymnastics is more than her career, it encompasses her life. She has worked extremely hard, so she definitely has the right to be upset for not achieving her goals.
Gabby Douglas’ responds to hate comments show us how important it is to focus on the support of others in the midst of harsh criticism. By taking the chance to speak out on the effect of these critics and sharing her response, Douglas invites us all to empower ourselves and believe in our right to achieve our goals.
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