Gabby’s Not Alone
This Olympic season, female African-American athletes are doing their country proud.
Sanya Richards-Ross was the first American woman to win a gold medal in the 400-meters event since 1984. Succeeding Richards-Ross was former Olympic gold medalist, DeeDee Trotter, who brought home the bronze. First-time Olympic medalist, Carmelita Jeter took silver for the women’s 100-meters race. Maya Lawrence snagged bronze in the Women’s Epee, as did Lia Neal for the women’s 4×100-meters freestyle relay. The famous Williams sisters racked up the medals on the tennis court taking the gold as a pair in women’s doubles while Serena took the gold in women’s singles, which made her the second woman in history to complete the Career Golden Slam.
Other than being able to say that they’ve stood atop the most glorious of podiums for their incredible athletic achievements, what do these women have in common? Hair haters!
Richards-Ross looked gorgeous on the field, her signature braided crown and long tresses flowing in the wind. Yet twitterers criticized the track star (who in addition to being a two-time Olympic gold medalist is co-owner of The Hair Clinic, a hair salon in Austin Texas), for wearing her hair down while running and voiced their speculations on whether her hair was in-fact her own. Some particularly nasty examples:
• Congrats Sanya Richards-Ross on the gold medal! But why wear your hair down to run? #tiethatcrapup #longhairprobs–Meredith Moorman @meremoorman
• That is some ratchet ass hair Sanya Richards-Ross has–Ashley Anita @pASHionateLEY86
Carmelita Jeter rocked a cropped cut for her silver-medal winning race. She even made a point to style her hair especially for the Games, tweeting: “About to get ready for my Medal Ceremony. Tryin to figure out what im gonna do with this hair its way too long. #haircut.” Still, her efforts weren’t enough for the tough, virtual crowd. Some felt strongly about her cut being too short while others claimed that she used too much grease and gel (example: “Somebody needs to squeeze out the oil from Carmelita Jeter’s hair. Never seen hair stick like that since I was at Nigerian hair salon,” Nandile Soni @nahndeelee).
Though many on #teamnatural applauded Maya Lawrence’s afro, of course there had to be at least one comment on the imperfection of her locks—apparently they were too long for her liking: “If I were her coach, I woul have shaved Maya Lawrence’s hair down an inch or two before semis #epee #fencing #olympics #USA,” tweeted Elizabeth Doyon @lizdoyon.
The Williams sisters are no strangers to facing criticism for their hairstyles. This time, it looks like they joined in on the fun and demonstrated that laughing with the haters is a way to keep positive when it comes to self-image—at least that’s what we got from the sisters re-tweeting negative statements made on Twitter likening Venus’ hair to a “female George Clinton.”
So what’s with all the hair hate? Why does hair inspire such vitriol?