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Opinion: Why focus on Gabby Douglas' hair?
After her historic win, gymnastics all-around gold medalist Gabby Douglas faced criticism about her hair.
August 6th, 2012
02:20 PM ET

Opinion: Why focus on Gabby Douglas' hair?

Editor's Note: Tiya Miles is chairwoman of the Department of Afro-American and African Studies and professor of history and Native American studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of "Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom" and "The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story." She is also the winner of  a 2011 genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation.

By Tiya Miles, Special to CNN

When Gabby Douglas stood on the Olympic podium Thursday, a bright smile on her face and gold medal around her neck, she made history as the first African-American woman to win top honors in the all-around gymnastics competition.

Many African-Americans watching Douglas shared a flush of pride at the accomplishment, noting her joy, her poise, her grace and, apparently, her hairstyle.

I heard about this latter preoccupation from my sister, who swept into town for a weekend visit and opened with, “Have you heard that mess about Gabby’s hair? Type in ‘Gabby Douglas hair’ on Google; you’ll see.” I was dismayed to find a string of posts by African-American women and men debating Douglas’ hairstyle and the perceived imperfection that while her hair was straightened, parts of it had turned visibly kinky during her performance.

The fascination with natural African-American hair

Twitter and Facebook commenters and callers on black talk radio shows questioned whether her hair was too straight or too kinky, whether it was over-gelled or under-tamed, and what she should have done with that floppy bun. My sister, who thought this barrage of criticism was a “mess,” threw in the final comment: “All right, I admit if I was her mother, I would have put a headband on the girl, but really, who cares?”

A significant number of people, if the list my Google search returned is any indication. Why were some African-Americans fixated on hair at a moment that should have been set aside to savor a grand achievement?

For African-Americans and black women in particular, hair has long been troubled terrain. The natural kinkiness or curliness of most black people’s hair places it outside the bounds of mainstream American beauty standards, which emphasizes straightness, length and the bounce and flow of tresses in motion.

Reporter’s Notebook: Viola Davis keeps it 'real'

Historically, the difference of black hair texture has symbolized the inferiority of black people in the minds of some whites and even some blacks.

Naturally kinky hair was viewed as dirty, unkempt and unattractive into the mid-20th century.

In the 1960s and later, as blacks began to reclaim natural styles, Afros, braids and dreadlocks were associated with political radicalism in dominant American culture to the extent that some black women were threatened with the loss of their jobs for wearing braids to the workplace.

Over the years, black women (and men) have turned to numerous products and processes in an attempt to tame their locks into looks more fitting for American society – from twists and ties to pomades and gels to straightening combs and chemical relaxers.

It is no wonder that the first African-American female millionaire, Madame C. J. Walker, earned her riches from selling hair lotions and perfecting the use of the straightening comb.

For African-Americans, smooth, straight hair has been a symbol not only of beauty but of acceptance in broader American culture. And while black women wear their hair in myriad creative ways, one underlying orientation from this cultural history of hair oppression remains: the view that a black woman’s hairstyle is important and even symbolic, so she had better get it right. This is in part why Angela Davis’ Afro became iconic, why Beyoncé’s blond tresses are a signature of her look and why Nicki Minaj made a splash with a twirling carrousel of cotton-candy colored wigs.

Praise pours in for Viola Davis' natural 'do

African-American women feel that we have to “represent” through physical appearance. We know that when we step outside our doors, people do not only see and judge us as individuals, they see and judge our entire community and racial group.

For our own self-esteem and for the dignity of our group, we strive to appear our best. And to do so, we have often tried to replicate the aesthetic values of mainstream American society — including straight hair.

These acts of replication have been internalized such that we often do not distinguish between mainstream standards of beauty and what might have traditionally been our own way of looking at and loving ourselves.

The public reaction to Douglas’ appearance shows that this preoccupation with hair in the black community has gone too far.

In the black culture, a richness of hairstory

After her stunning win, tweeters who publicly demanded “why hasn’t anyone tried to fix Gabby Douglas’ hair?” and charged “gabby douglas gotta do something with this hair!” distracted the nation’s attention from what really mattered in the moment.

Defenses of Douglas posted by black women emphasized salient points: that she was an athlete who necessarily worked up a sweat, that sweat naturally affected one’s hair and that she had just accomplished something none of the “haters” could even dream of. A Facebook page called “I Support Gabby Douglas and HER HAIR” has collected 220 likes.

But overall, the chatter about Douglas’ hair has been insensitive and unproductive. Instead of criticizing this teenage girl for her appearance, black women and men could have been using those 140 Twitter characters to celebrate the skill of an Olympic champion.

The wise black feminist author Alice Walker spoke and wrote about the constraints of hair and beauty ideals in black culture in an essay titled “Oppressed hair puts a ceiling on the brain.”

When we engage in petty talk of perms and gels in the wake of a great triumph, we diminish ourselves and limit the potential of our young women and girls by sending the message that how they look overshadows what they think, imagine and accomplish.

Instead, we should be telling our girls that beauty is as beauty does. So what if 16-year-old Gabby Douglas doesn’t meet an unrealistic black hair-care standard?

She can swing and flip on parallel bars as the best all-around woman gymnast in the world; she can leap through the air like a shooting star.

We should all aspire to lift our heads so high.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Tiya Miles. 

Posted by
Filed under: Black in America • History • How we look • What we think • Women
soundoff (1,069 Responses)
  1. ShawnDH

    I didn't even notice Gabby's hair, because it was perfectly appropriate for an elite gymnast. I was more focused on cheering for her to win GOLD MEDALS.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  2. kevgood

    Am I the only person who thinks this hair thing is a little contrived? Everybody in the world loves Gabby Douglas. And everybody loves Gabby's hair.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • JohnQ

      Not contrived at all. FB posts from my African American female friends were almost immediate after it aired. Just take it as a reflection of the general mindset of African American females.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
      • Quee Taiyang

        Not really JohnQ. Just because a few loud mouthed idiots who have no common sense (why on EARTH would a gymnast or any other athlete style up their hair when they're about to flip, turn, run, swim, or otherwise cause their hair to go all over the place?!?!?!) choose to tweet their mindless drivel, doesn't mean that they represent all African American women. I for one (and I'm an African-American woman) would think it was stuipd in the extreme for any athlete to come with their hair 'whipped' into a style, and would wonder what their priority was. ALL of the gymnasts I saw either had their hair pulled into a pony tail or cut extremely short in a few cases.

        Unfortunately the women tweeting about Gabby's hair looking bad represent the mindless simians that unfortunately are members of our ethnicity, but they don't represent ME or African American women as a whole. In fact people like this make me ashamed to be African American, and people like that are why we can't get ahead and get left behind in the Human race.

        August 7, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  3. aginghippy

    African Americans seem to be proud of their heritage in every way except the natural appearance of their hair. Why is that?

    August 7, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  4. Monica

    Gabby is obviously a strong girl in all respects--

    But can you vapid idiots making her hair an "issue of disrespect" take a moment to IMAGINE how this must be really making her feel inside?? She is a child, and a human being with feelings–

    She must be so completely disappointed in people right now- SAD

    August 7, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  5. ArtInChicago

    Some people are trifling and many of them work for or listen to Fox News.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. John Henry

    It's the media that is trying to make this all about skin color. Before she even won a medal, it was all over the news that her mom had to file for bankruptcy while getting social security and paying for gymnastics, and that became a racial issue as well. Can't it just be about the sport for crying out loud?

    August 7, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  7. Stan Sitwell

    What a worthless article. You're the only one who is worrying about her hair.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Wow. Where have you been, Stan?
      There's been LOTS of talk about her hair. Try to keep up.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
      • bobjones

        her hair is insignificant and so is her color. She is the best in gymnastics in the world, and she is an American, no need wasting time on unimportant things like hair and skin color. What about her eyes, anyone write about that.

        August 7, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
      • Carol

        Maybe in the balck community, asd the author wrote, but the rest of the country there's no talk until it hit Yahoo a few days ago and now CNN. In my house viewing the Olympics with a large group of neighbors and family and friends – we didn't give a rat's a$$ about any of the girls hair. We were talking about dismounts and flips. Same at work.
        Just becasue it's a focus for SOME does not mean it's a focus for ALL.

        August 7, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
      • Cocoa Hill

        Well said!

        August 7, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
      • Retired Army Officer

        The fact that other news sites aren't talking about her hair (including the "racist Fox news") only tells me that they are or may be scared to touch the subject.

        The bottom line, though......is that there have been many thousands of blog posts talking about her hair.

        That qualifies it as an issue (news) and I see no reason why CNN shouldn't have an opinion piece on it.

        August 7, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  8. Monica

    Gymnastics is a SPORT, not a beauty contest featuring insecure women trying to please the masses!!!!

    Agree fully with this author. Black women are just tearing themselves down when they make an issue of this– completely stupid.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Retired Army Officer

      Exactly! Gymnastics IS a sport and the only focus should be on Gabby's athletic performance and her sportsmanship.

      Now......go get paid, young lady......go get paid 😉 !

      August 7, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mountain out of a molehill

    It's just hair.....there other more important things in this world to talk about.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. barbara

    Seriously people, leave the kid alone. Her hair should not be a subject for discussion.... The only thing that should be talked about is her incredible accomplishment at the olympics!!!

    August 7, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  11. gman

    Do we criticize God about his hair? That what's wrong with tis world, we're always finding something to make people look bad. No wonder God put us on this world to ourselves because we will make a mess of anything else he created. Get a life, please.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  12. asdf

    I'd love to see Gabby take to twitter to mock the african american community for their penchant for heart disease or diabetes...you know, things that actually matter.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  13. angela

    I noticed McKayla's messy bun first. I just assumed that the "messy bun," was a current trending style as I noticed it on other gymnasts. I didn't single out Gabby and swing the messy hairstyles of the gymnasts into a racially charged, overly long, boring article.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  14. John

    I'm a middle aged white boy in Texas and I thought the "Flying Squirrel" was pretty spectacular. Anybody who criticizes her hair is an idiot.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  15. Julie

    It's ridiculous that people would judge her hair. First of all, ALL the female athletes struggle to keep their hair bound in place neatly through all the bouncing, twirling, running, flipping, sweating, etc. Notice that ALL of the ladies, regardless of nationality or color, have tons of bobby pins and clips in their hair. No one slams the messy bunned white chicks! I don't get it. And most of the slamming is being done by black women! Such a shame. I don't see why we have to make a fuss over her hair, or even the fact that she's black really. She's an amazing talented athlete and a darling person. And an American. Period. You go, girl! This mixed American girl loves you. And by the way folks, I sweat out my sides just walking from the car into the grocery store so I cannot imagine how awful I'd look at the end of a day like Gabby's. Maybe you should think about what you'd look like too, IF you could even do what she does!

    August 7, 2012 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  16. Colleen

    Really!!! This noise takes me back to elementary school, just more gossip and finger pointing. Let's grow up and talk about something that matters. How about the accomplishment of winning a gold medal at age 16?

    August 7, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  17. MJP

    Gabby is a great Gymnast and a confident person. Apparently she is happy with who she is and with what she was born with. I applauded her. She doesn’t not feel the need to be fake and buy fake hear to put on her had like most of these people out there lacking self-esteem and not liking themselves for who they are. You fakes out there, you know who you are!

    August 7, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  18. Ana

    Since the article is about her hair, it only makes sense that the comments would be about the article and their take on it. There are other articles about her triumph where I'm sure he stellar performance is the highlight in each comment.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  19. The Singer

    Seriously, even Gabby said no one should be talking about this. When the person who it's about doesn't care to comment, that's when it's time to put this stupid story to bed.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  20. Elizabeth

    Since when is messy hair a racist issue? Geez Ms Miles! Shame on you for trying to turn this into something it's NOT. The issue is about the girl's grooming and/or lack of it, not her ethnic heritage. Give it a rest. Your sis hit it right on the money. You should have listened.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  21. Nate

    Jump around on the a mat for a few hours and see how your hair looks, lol..I'm convinced we just like to have things to b itch about...

    August 7, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  22. SARGESGIFTSHOP.com

    With a great smile like she has.... how could you tear your eyes away to critizise her hair style ????

    August 7, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  23. Michelle

    You are right about that. I for one, lost every inch of hair that I had on my body when undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. I said I would never complain about having a bad hair. But seriously, I was one of those who looked at her hair and commented that it was a mess. I am sorry for feeling that way, and I apologize for it. Can you imagine how she must feel knowing people are 'talking' about her appearance?

    Gaby you make me proud...you go girl.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  24. Kat

    Ok, seriously? Most Americans can't touch their toes. Gabby Douglas is perfoming skills most people wouldn't even dream of attempting. Her hair doesn't matter, it looks just fine.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  25. mimoco

    I was shocked to see several of the women's USA gymnastic's team members with their hair not in a clean neat pony tail or ball, not just Gabby, McKayla too. It seemed that they did not care much about having a polished appearance.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  26. mm

    Her hair is great, everyone is allowed to have any hairstyle they like.

    My big complaint is about the headlines, "African American" the newspapers and television continue to poliferate the division of races and inserting a wedge between Americans. we are one people of many races and these division tactics must stop.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
    • confused

      I agree, I'm very confused at how much seperation there is in our culture. At work, at school, when your out at the bar, its always us and them. What the hell? this isn't 1950.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Nikki

      It seems strange to me that by using the term African American suddenly there is racial division. The issue with race is not that there are different terms used to describe the background of individuals but the stigmas attached to them. The idea that if we were all suddenly colorblind and didn't use these categories is ridiculous. Saying "I don't see color" is bull. By acknowledging her heritage doesn't automatically make it divisive.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  27. emma

    Straight hair is the beauty standard? News to me: I was told my straight hair was 'dead-looking' when I was 9. This was in the 70s when Farrah Fawcett was tops, and her hair was not straight. Now even most white women have blow-outs and use flat irons. Trying to get that look is not limited to black women.
    Almost every gymnast I have seen has worn ponytails and barettes to keep her hair out of her face: why is it an issue for a young black girl?
    As for Beyonce: she does more of a disservice to black women by dyeing her hair blonde and trying to look white and any 'white standard' of beauty ever will. Michael Jackson's skin bleaching didnt' help either: seems even black men want to look like white women.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Beeg Dawg

      emma, that last line is way too funny, "...seems like some black men trying to look like white women...Your post is spot on, I am married to a gorgeous black woman (35 years this year) and have two beautiful daughters. I "know" of the issues with black women and their hair, but we must do as the USMC says, Adapt, Improvise, and Overcome...

      August 7, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  28. Brook

    Wow, I rooted for her and was proud of her because she was an American representing my country with stellar athleticism and grace. The color of her skin and the significance of that was completely lost on me. Discussing her hair seems even more odd to me. Go USA! Go Gabby!

    August 7, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  29. julia sheets

    there are no racial boundaries when it comes to gymnastics and bad hair!!! they all have bad hair!! what bothers me is that when they are out of the gym or arena they keep the same crappy slicked back hairstyle:(, dont even get me started on their makeup!!!!

    August 7, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Kat

      I think their hair looks just fine. They need to keep it out of their faces. Besides, do you ever look cute after you're done working out? These girls are flipping through the air, of course their hair isn't going to be perfect.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  30. Nate

    Wow..we have way too much time on our hands...

    August 7, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  31. nladino79

    There was an issue with her hair? Why don't we write an op-ed about random people who write articles about issues no one cares anything about.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  32. MegtheMom

    A few random thoughts: As other posters have said, this is a 16 year old adolescent; no one has the right to comment on her physical appearance except her mother! Gabby is strong and beautiful just as she is – an excellent role model for other young women who may be struggling with body and appearance issues. Her work ethic and character at age 16 are exemplary. I am so proud to have had this amazing young woman represent my country on the world stage. I respect that this is an issue of concern for many African-American women but I didn't even notice Gabby's hair until I ran across this article – I was too distracted by her skill, talent and dazzling smile. Agree with the author – the focus should be on the child's impressive accomplishments!

    August 7, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  33. nladino79

    There was an issue with her hair? Why don't we write an op-ed on how they let people write about random people who write articles about issues no one cares anything about.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
    • SARGESGIFTSHOP.com

      Kudos....... I thought the very same thing

      August 7, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  34. Ana

    i got a little emotional when i read this. it's so unfortunately true. i love my hair as much as i hate it and i've always been extremely and irrationally proud of never wearing weaves/wigs/extensions. but i still have to relax it so i can get the curl completely out since for some reason stick straight is better than curly (plus when i do wear it natural and people ask to touch it, it takes all my self control not to scream, "i'm not an animal so no you cannot pet my hair"). it really is the most stupid, vain and laughable preoccupation. i'm so proud of gabby and still, in the back of my mind i thought, "geez that hair is awful, she's at the olympics for god's sake." shame on me and shame on everyone else who had similiar thoughts.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  35. Ivy

    This whole argument is so silly. She's a gymnast. She needs to keep her hair back. That's all. What, is she supposed to do gymnastics with an afro?

    Not only that, but plenty of white women hate their hair. Everyone is constantly trying to curl straight hair, straighten curly hair, color their hair, perm their hair. Why is this a black issue?

    I love you Gabby! You are perfect in my book.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Ana

      I think you're right to an extent. However, I think the historic veiw that blacks and their nappy hair are beneath everyone else fuels a different fire behind our desire to change our hair.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
    • momo-chan

      couldn't have said it better myself!

      August 7, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  36. Weasel

    Amazing how racist these minority groups are to anyone who doesn't aspire to their BS. So we have to differentiate Afro-Americans. Great if we are not all the same Americans than let me tell you don't ask me ever to support anything that they want or do. I am sick of all the BS all my life.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  37. Agrib

    I didn't notice her hair, what I did not was a very talented young lady that represented her country , herself, and her family with great pride and dignity.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  38. Julia

    The girl looked beautiful and made an amazing show. Her hair? Seriously? Get a grip.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  39. Mike

    Go Gabby, Let Freedom Ring.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  40. MrId

    I would think that a giant afro would inhibit some gymnastic moves......

    August 7, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • JohnQ

      The issue is that a majority of black women are malicious, jealous, shallow and for the most part unintelligent. I am a 38 year old black male and black women have yet to prove me wrong.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  41. JanieJane

    Maybe because I'm white, but I didn't even know there was any issue over her hair. This is news to me. This is only an issue because people with nothing better to do make it an issue.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff H

      Yeah, wow. There is "Twitter effect" now where the media now has access to the ignorant and (ultimately) insignificant views of individual people, yet somehow remains of the belief that there is a story in the fact that one person – or even thousands of people – have that view. Writing a story about this not only draws attention to a stereotype that I'm pretty sure 98% of America never even noticed, but also furthers the notion that gymnastics is as much about aesthetics as it is about performance. I thought Gabby Douglas was an amazing athlete and inspiring young person, and I don't want crap like "ooh, I wonder if her hair looks unkempt and oh my gosh what racial message can we derive from that" stuck in the back of my head.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  42. WisdomVS

    If her hair was perfect... would she have scored any higher? NO! NO! NO!

    Come on people, she was being judged on her athletic skills. It wasn't a beauty contest. Get over the hair thing!

    – Gabby's biggest white boy fan.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  43. Poltergiest

    Every race/culture has it's version of haters that will degenerate people no matter what they've accomplished. Some people didn't like Gaby's hair, so what? Do you realize how many cruel/insipid/useless comments float through the internet each day?

    Anyways last I heard Gaby is up for $100 million in sponsorship deals. She'll be able to hire Opra's stylist if she feels like it. I would have rather read an article about that, or heard about that on the radio. Instead of useless bickering over hair.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
  44. Starbelly

    I think her hair looks fine. What's the big deal? Pull it back and polish your gold, girl, you are a NINJA!

    August 7, 2012 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  45. Anne S.

    Who cares what her hair looked like, I certainly don't. Would you rather have her hair flopping in her face while she's performing? I would think anyone who is performing gymnastics wouldn't want their hair flopping in their face. Overall your watching their performance and not what their hair is doing. People are just making a mountain out of a mole hill here. The main thing is she won the gold. Congratulations to her, you did your country proud Gabby.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  46. GERRIE

    We are our worst enemy...thank you for your comments who cares, but the haters. What do her hair have to do with her winning?

    August 7, 2012 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  47. Lady

    Who cares about her hair she has accomplished something great and thats what matters she will have plenty of time and money to do whatever she wants to do. Go Gabby do your thing show them who you are. God Bless You!!

    August 7, 2012 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
    • SawItComin

      Agreed wholeheartedly! Its just hair for cryin' out loud! She has done wonderful and accomplished much at her age!

      August 7, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  48. SoPisces85

    It is unreal how negative people can be. No wonder why the last few generations are so lost, people were NOT concerned about how good Gabby's performances and scores were. Although, had she made a serious error on any of them, there would've been plenty of feedback on that.
    To get to my point, instead of being focused on what's important (this beautiful young lady, that has a head full of her own beautiful hair) was put to the test against the best of the best in the world and WON!!!
    How can someone even have the audacity to seek out something negative to say. For people to be so pessimistic is very sad.
    When people become so involved in a debate that should be nonexistent anyway... What kind of example do we set? How do we teach young women to not feel insecure about themselves when someone they would and should idolize is belittled about something that had absolutely nothing to do with her becoming A CHAMPION

    August 7, 2012 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  49. Paul

    What Gabby cares about: How she is going to spend the million$$ in endorsements coming her way.....
    What Gabby doesn't care about: What a gaggle of bored, simple-minded women think about her hair.....

    August 7, 2012 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Lady

      Very Well Said.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Donna

      I agree with Lady..very Very VERY well said. Leave the child alone!! On every level she is a champion, from her smile and poise to her abilities in the gym. Perhaps these people should try to remember how it felt to be 16 and trying to *fit in*. I'm a 60 year old white woman and I still have 'bad-hair-days'. The only difference is now I could care less. Have a great day everyone!

      August 7, 2012 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
  50. luv2funrun

    Okay CNN let it go! Why is this still a story or issue?? And as an african american woman, black women you should be ashamed of yourselves! This child is 16 years of age, has not bowed down to what "WE" have let society proclaim that bone straight hair is the standard for our beauty. Let's set the standard for ourselves. Whether natural (as you were born), weaved, permed, etc. It's an individual choice. Shame on you black women, shame on you!!!!

    August 7, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  51. CJH

    Are you bloody kidding me? This young woman turned in the performance of her lifetime and people are griping about her hair? This is as bad as Fox Noise moaning because she wore pink instead of red/white/blue.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  52. jpx

    Word. Seriously, are there really people out there who are talking about this? What a strange thing to be fixated on. I think the focus should be on Phelps' dumbo ears and awful teeth.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  53. brotherjukebox2012

    I never looked at her hair and i'm white. I only looked at her phenomenal performances

    August 7, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
    • gogabby

      I think her hair looks fine. Don't know if anyone remembers, but she left home for 2 years to train in Iowa with her now coach. As a 16 yr old, away from her family, I think she did the best she could with her hair. She had to juggle between going to school as well as maintaining a rigorous training schedule. Gabby, I am proud of you and your wonderful accomplishment. You are the NUMBER ONE FEMALE GYMNASTIST FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS. ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!

      August 7, 2012 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
      • Dan

        That means that she moved away from her family to persue her dream when she was fourteen. FOURTEEN!
        The "do it for the CHILDREN!" whiners would pewl over the fact tha "she is just a CHILD".
        Yet this "child" went to school, worked hard, traveled across the ocean, turned in a gold medal-winning performance, and is one of the most polished people in front of the camera that you will see.

        But "haters gonna hate". And the simple-minded haters can just quit hating on Gabby.

        August 7, 2012 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
      • techmom

        Its a social commentary and its infinitely more relavent than Faux News discussing the clothing of the athletes. And you are wrong, her mother did not move to Iowa.

        August 7, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  54. jack

    SEE even black people can be preoccupied with ridiculous stuff. They isn't any diffawent din us wite follk

    August 7, 2012 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Lynne

      So african american woman/men are making comments about her nappy hair. Had it been a white woman making those comments we would have been labeled racist. This young lady, regardless of race, did an amazing job at the olympics and some very ignorant people have the nerve to comment about her hair! Gabby, I'm sure you're bigger and better than those who dare comment on your hair. Wear your gold with pride and that gleaming smile of yours!!

      August 7, 2012 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Latisha

      "HAIR"-LARIOUS! ! !

      August 7, 2012 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  55. Trishma

    Good grief, her hair? How many of we white women have used the Americanism "II'm having a bad hair day'? WE spend a fortune on hair products because hair is just hair. WE are the folks who are overwrought about how it looks. Just view the jillian hair ads on TV to see that. There is no space in our corner of society to complain about anybody else's hair when ours is usually a disaster without our daily hair routine. Give it up ladies (and some of you men), the child is cause for National pride and is a true role model for young ladies, not only in gymnastics but in every area of discipline required to follow a dream.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      Well said. I couldn't agree more.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
  56. oneelevenstudio

    I'm sorry but This has nothing to do with straight hair vs. Natual Hair so half of this article was a waste. The fact is is that BLACK WOMEN GET THEIR HAIR DONE....PERIOD! If it's natural or relaxed we make it a point to stay on top of our hair from wash and sets one to two weeks, to getting it relaxed every 6 weeks to twisting our hair, touching up our dreads, it doesn't really stop with us. So for her to be on national t.v. and not have it done I can understand the comments. I just never would have said them out loud and blasted her in social media. As a culture it seems like we've stopped sticking up for each other...THAT'S THE REAL PROBLEM! BLOG ABOUT THAT!

    August 7, 2012 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
    • twalkuf

      1. It was a gymnastics meet not America's Next Top Model. Please get over yourself and at some learn to look at the bigger picture.
      2. How was YOUR hair at age 16 when you made National History? It's ok.....I'll wait...

      August 7, 2012 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Meme

      Please don't speak for all black women. That is what the problem is...People who want to speak for a whole race/gender. Not all black women do the things you have mentioned. I for one, just wash my hair at home while I am showering that's the end of it. I only go to a professional when I want to do something different with my hair not because i have to. So you see, not all black women...even with natural hair, have to do what you have mentioned. Stop being obsessed about superficial things. Gabby's hair looked fine...she is an Olympian...what have you accomplished? Stop thinking you know what every black woman does and being so judgemental.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  57. Barbara

    Here is an extremely talented and awesome young lady and people are focusing on her hair. What a pathetic society we live in.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Charlie

      How little, petty and small minded fux nuws can get.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
  58. Andrea

    Her hair, come on people. That is so petty. If you were out there sweating and flipping what would your hair look like

    August 7, 2012 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
  59. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Newest Olympic sport to be introduced: Hair Dressing! Fools!

    August 7, 2012 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
  60. James Savastano

    It's such a shame that this beautiful young girls achievemnts have a parallel shadow with this hair nonsense! I hope a hair care product company hires her for some marketing because I think her hair is beautiful. Knock em' dead, Gabby!

    August 7, 2012 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
  61. Jerry

    Superb job Gabby! Congratulations!!! YOU and your hair are gorgeous. I am not Black, but I am definitely super proud of your accomplishments. Don't let the naysayers, whether Black, white, green, Brown or "yellow", influence you.

    ¡Adelante!

    August 7, 2012 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
  62. tondreads

    Thats wouldn't care!!..sorry about that.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
  63. BigAl

    REALLY! the young lady is an Olympic champion, come on. bunch of ijits.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
  64. tondreads

    I'm a 47 year old African-American male. If I could do what Gaddy can do, I would care if my hair looked liked Buckwheat from the Little Rascals on a hot and humid Alabama day in July..lol...Great Job Gaddy!!!!!

    August 7, 2012 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  65. rla

    How vapid we have become and to what low has journalism sunk??? Great job kid!

    August 7, 2012 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
  66. Theresa C

    I don't think any of the young ladies hair looked that hot, but then again your looks are not being judged it is you athletic abilities. After all of the physical demands placed on them I think we should expect a perfect hairdo.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
  67. JustinS

    "hair oppression"
    ^
    Really!? Hair oppression? Lady you've got issues. The ONLY 2 things that I noticed about this young lady 1) extremely talented 2) pretty smile. I haven't heard one person (white or black) make mention of her hair. That's just ridiculous!

    But I guess being as you write books about slavery and oppression, you can't see past those things. And that's on you.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
  68. jessica roy

    Everybody know the damn issue but there's a time and a place to debate about this. But it"s too hard for us, african-american to JUST celebrate our talents and our victory, even if it's one us who make history. We are our own worst enemy. She's a 16 year-old kid, from an average town, raised by a single mother who is now the best gymnast in the world, but it's more easy to point that her hair is perm. Contine to shine girl, continue smile girl, Go Gabby.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Could not of said it better. Thank you

      August 7, 2012 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
  69. Katie

    Why focus on hair (or clothing or makeup or how fat/thin someone looks in that outfit) ? Because people are petty when it comes to women in the media. Doesn't matter who they are – politicians, news anchors, sports figures – people look at the packaging, not the product. Won't it be nice when women are judged on their characters and their abilities instead of stupid things like hair? Gabby Douglas is world champion. Let's remember her for that, shall we?

    August 7, 2012 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Oforiwaa

      Well said Katie, I agree 100% 🙂

      August 7, 2012 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  70. flecka

    I am not surprised by the negative comments on Gabby's appearance, even though I do not agree with them. Watching Gabby, I've only seen the glow of a beautiful young athlete. Breathtaking! Sadly, our society has been accepting the distorted image-conscious views of the Emporer's Clothes for too long.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  71. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    The first striking thing I noticed about Gabby was her lovely smile. The second thing that really striked me and got my attention the most was that Gold Medal around her neck. Her hair I never really noticed. Congrats Gabby.

    August 7, 2012 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
  72. cole

    absolutely appalling!!! here this young lady has won a gold medal, and people find it in themselves to comment on her hair being wrong!!!!! on top of it, it was African American women who were the majority of this. what is wrong with this world any more? people in general !!!! it just seems like people are regressing instead of evolving in all mannerisms in this age.

    August 7, 2012 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      I completely agree. This dialogue on her hair by people of color is appalling.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
  73. Jeff

    I really can't believe that you were actually paid for this story. Nobody, unless they have political undertones cares about how her hair looked. It was her time to shine and she did and I would like to think all of America is proud of her.. I am. This truly is the dumbest article I have ever read. In this day and age you can do whatever you want with your hair. Gymnasts that I have seen over the last 41 years keep there hair short or pulled back. I never even paid attention to her hair but more so was proud of her performance and the support she received from her fellow American gymnasts.

    It is this kind of crap that will give plenty of people to write about black/white stuff forever. Get over it.

    I am happy this young girl won and it had nothing to do with her hair or stereotypes (which you seem to encourage) more so, it had to deal with her dedication.

    Be ashamed of this lame article that does nothing positive. We should celebrate as a country every athlete and there successes. Did you not have time to write about blade runner? Or could you not say something about Franklin or even Phelps capping off his career? Guess not.

    Say what you want about this country but we did embarrass Hitler with one of the finest runners of all time. The problem is not so much about how this country feels as it is about how people like you make a dollar off of it.

    Let her enjoy her success without your crap and any other unaccomplished journalist crap.

    Gold + USA = Proud.

    August 7, 2012 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
  74. Teri

    Dear CNN, please take this article down. It is completely irrelevant. Instead, an opinion piece on inspiration we can take from this beautifu and talented young lady would, for me, have been much more appreciated.

    August 7, 2012 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
  75. crabman

    AMERICAN get it=== first ====second ===is there that little to worry about that people have to be the HAIR POLICE =====and why is it African American

    August 7, 2012 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
  76. Maria

    Such a beautiful young girl !! I remember my mom and all her generation of young white women in 50ties – when they spent so much efforts to get their hair CURLY. I remember myself as a little girl waiting for mum at hairstylist until she got the procedure done 🙂 So all women in world want to have something different, something special 🙂 and thats it !

    August 7, 2012 at 5:54 am | Report abuse |
  77. mslisac363

    This is about so many black women today wear so much fake hair that poeple think it's not good to see natural hair. Very simple...

    August 7, 2012 at 5:49 am | Report abuse |
  78. Lame

    Before Gabby became the FAVORITE..way after it was clear that the 'other girl' was not gonna win..you hardly saw Gabby's name or face. The 'other girl' was mentioned more than Gabby even when it was clear individual gold was not within her reach. But let a few simple idiots begin a blog or tweet about something negative, and somehow that makes it to CNN and actually headlines the news. This is not about hair. This is not about bankruptcy. This is about the obsession we have with focusing on negative non-sense. It captures attention, sells, and lives on far longer than positives. Hence..reality shows. CNN and any network that chooses to embrace these negative conversations are grasping in the wind for a piece of the Gabby-pie. I sincerely pray this child soars above this inappropriate, adult led foolishness and enjoys her success. I can not help but wonder if the 'other girl' had won, would so much focus have been placed on her perceived faults or misfortunes.

    August 7, 2012 at 5:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      So true! I don't follow gymnastics, but I love to watch it during the Olympics. I had never heard of any of these girls, and I too wondered why ALL the attention focused on that 'other girl.' When she didn't qualify for the all-arounds, I thought, so?? She's still competing, isn't she? Do we have to feel sorry for someone who so obviously has to force herself to be a team member supporting the rest of her team? When the team came marching out into the arena, only the three youngest ones looked like they were happy to be there – that 'other girl' and even the team leader in the beginning looked like little robots. The only emotion that 'other girl' showed was when she realized she hadn't performed well enough to qualify for all-arounds, then we were treated to her tears more than we were treated to anyone's celebration. When Gabby flashed that smile, how could you not root for her?

      August 7, 2012 at 7:10 am | Report abuse |
  79. Tata

    I think this was exploited by white women in the media to make black women look bad. There may have been a few comments, but not many. White women are always on the pedestal, and they can't stand when a black girl gets a little attention.

    August 7, 2012 at 5:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Tina

      I am a white woman, and to this lame comment, I would like to say WHATEVER!! One of the dumbest things I've ever heard. I think Gabby is beautiful, and I am so proud of her. She is an American!!!!!

      August 7, 2012 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Ann

      I am a white female and I thinks it ridiculous that her hair is an issue at all. Why does everything have to become a race issue. Lets just let this remarkable young women enjoy her victory after all her hard work and sacrafice.

      August 7, 2012 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      What an incredibly tupid comment; almost unprecedented, though I'll go out on a limb and guess that you've posted similar types in the past. Yeah, there are a bunch of white women sitting around all completely bent out of shape because a black girl is getting a lot of media attention. Next time put a little thought into your comment. That way you don't come off looking like a complete and total fool. Or, stick to your present way of doing things which is apparently: "Well, I'm too stupid to come up with an actual and original thought, so I'll just pull out my trusty race card".....

      August 7, 2012 at 6:23 am | Report abuse |
    • GMC123

      I am also white. When I seen the headlines about this beautiful girl, something about her hair-I couldn't figure out what the heck they were talking about. If you read the article, Tata, it says "African-American" women were saying things. I think it's petty and outrageous for ppl to try to take her glory away by talking about her hair. There is absolutely nothing at all wrong with her hair or anything about her outward appearance that would call for it. She's worked hard to get where she's at, so don't take it away from her (or put it off on white ppl-wasn't us)

      August 7, 2012 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
  80. Star

    It has nothing to do with being white, black or purple. It's just beiing stupid. Gabby is a very cute young lady. Amen!

    August 7, 2012 at 5:35 am | Report abuse |
  81. Steven B

    Because Blacks are as petty, jealous, and (yes) racist as Caucasians, and can't stand to see the success of one of our own at times. That is TRUTH.

    August 7, 2012 at 5:32 am | Report abuse |
    • mslisac363

      This is a stupid remark – I guess you didn't see the family who has housed her for the last several years and considers her to be family.

      August 7, 2012 at 6:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      I don't think you can pin this just on black people. Women are almost always judged first on their appearance, by the media, and by the general public. It is cruel and shallow, and all too common for people to comment on hair, makeup, and dress when it comes to women, instead of their achievements, abilities, or talent. Men and women are both guilty of this, and it has little to do with racism. Women are STILL judged as if they are in a beauty contest, no matter what they are being celebrated for.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
  82. nokoolaidcowboy

    Why focus on Gabby's hair? Because people are shallow and sometimes jealous. Welcome to The Twitterverse where people feel it is their right to type away what enters their thoughts. And others of course follow.

    Unfortunately, get used to it.

    August 7, 2012 at 5:10 am | Report abuse |
  83. Norris

    First, I was really proud of Gabby's accomplishment and I didn't take any special notice of her hair. Then again, I'm a white guy and a retired gymnast myself so when I watch another gymnast, the hair isn't the first the thing on my mind.

    Outside of the context of gymnastics, I've become increasingly aware of black womens' obsession with their hair and I feel bad for them because there's got to be more to life than that. The author didn't mention black women wearing wigs but I seem to see that a lot these days and it's so obviously fake. Some months ago, I remember seeing a black woman in the subway about my age or a bit older and I immediately found her to be attractive. She was wearing loose clothes...not at all flashy. No makeup. Short curly hair. Most of all, she looked totally comfortable in her skin and that was a beautiful thing to see. Well, anyway, I guess it's always in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes women are trying to impress potential mates, other times they're trying to impress themselves or other women.

    I started to pay attention to these things after having the misfortune to have spent time in graduate school classes with kids from privileged families in Nigeria. Their previous education had left them totally unprepared for any serious academic work and so they tried really hard to gain respect by wearing the most amazing hair and clothing while cheating their way through classes. I really wanted to tell them that they could earn respect by ditching the hours spent in clothing stores and hair salons in favor of hours spent studying...but where do you start?

    August 7, 2012 at 5:04 am | Report abuse |
  84. Scott

    I don't believe the real issue here is about Miss Douglas. The real issue is about African American perceptions of their place in society. Miss Douglas should never have been caught up in such a controversy. She's a 16 year old girl who happened to be the best at something and she was scrutinized and criticized when she should have been praised. I think this article is misleading. For one, because the target of the "hair comments" is a female, the article missed an opportunity to broaden the the topic by fully including the African American Male. I know Ms.Miles mentions "Black Men" too but only as an "Oh let's not leave out the brotha's so I don't get called on it" contribution . There is no genuine consideration for the problems faced by African American Men with this issue so it's a hole in the article. Oh, and yes there are problems in society at large with this issue which is why there is so much commotion about it even though Miss Douglas should not be at the center of it all. The problem is the superficial ways in which we place value on others in our community. The article sugar coated the issue. Knowing that Miss Douglas was a young innocent, I believe Ms.Miles held back too much and made the article too "PG". There was mention of an anecdote about an African American Woman threatened with losing her job over her hair. Just threatened!? African Americans aren't that easy. For that matter people in general aren't that easy. You have to do more than just threaten to make us capitulate...and they do, they fire you. I could only imagine the many African American eyes rolling in their heads when they read that line. I have personally been witnessed to both African American Men and Women losing their jobs for not taking their braids out or any number of other demands do to natural differences between people with straight hair and people with curly hair. When an African American woman wears her hair in it's natural form and it is as long as her straight haired co-workers, she is promptly told to do something with it or find another job no arguments. Her hair has volume and straight hair has a much lower volume. I myself, an African American Man, have been told that my Afro looks untidy and should be cut or else... I make no apologies that my hair will not lie side by side in uniform fashion. It's just not natural for me...because I'm African American. So bottom line, African Americans should embrace the freedom of a natural look that will have consequences socially and economically in the United States but look at the up side. Imagine how much time and money you will save by just letting your body be how it's suppose to be. The challenge all African Americans face is do we struggle to control our lives or do we let others dictate our lives. That is the real issue. Do we need to jump through the hoops placed before us because others won't except our natural beauty? I don't feel Miss Douglas should be the catalyst for this discussion but since it is out there lets deal with it so another child can avoid such nonsense.

    August 7, 2012 at 4:38 am | Report abuse |
  85. no nonsense

    Dear Gabby, I hope and pray you are not listening to the small puffs of smoke who are doing nothing with their lives except seeking to nit pick other peoples lives to pieces. Ignore the haters and keep doing what you are doing. You have a awesome talent and don't let the surface dwellers stamp out your accomplishments with stupid stuff.

    August 7, 2012 at 4:29 am | Report abuse |
  86. Dee

    This is a stereotype, some are born with naturally straight hair, and some are born with hair that has very large and loose curly. You can't kick them out of the race.

    August 7, 2012 at 4:18 am | Report abuse |
  87. Lynette

    This is a problem of the African American culture...choosing style over substance.

    August 7, 2012 at 4:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      There are a lot of African-Americans that view themselves as a person, and do not subscribe to a set of rules set by anyone as to who they are, who they should be, how they should dress, talk, wear their hair, or live their life. They don'i bother or criticize other people about the way they dress, or wear their hair. They don't try to define others according to their views and perspectives, and most of all, they respect others.

      Gabby's hair is not really the issue, the issue is that people wanting to control some one else. They try to push their ideas of how they want someone else's hair to look, what they should wear, and they have no right do do so.

      August 7, 2012 at 4:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      There is a problem with much of America choosing style over substance. Why else would Sarah Palin be so popular?

      August 7, 2012 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
  88. A Bright White-y

    I don't get it. I never noticed her hair...I was just watching her compete. I'm glad she cared more about her performance than her hair. She wouldn't have made it to the Olympics if it were the other way around, and we all would have missed out! The girl was focused on the right things...and it showed. BRAVO!

    It never would have occurred to me to say anything about her hair. I hope she doesn't take any of the mean words to heart...being 16 is hard enough.

    August 7, 2012 at 4:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      Actually it is bullying.

      August 7, 2012 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Deb

      My thoughts exactely, I couldn't look past that fantastic performance and that fabulous smile.

      August 7, 2012 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
  89. honey badger

    As a dear friend (may he rest in peace) told me one time that the definition of "good hair" was any hair that is on your head. He was BALD!!

    I am a black woman, who had chemically relaxed my hair for more than 30 years, and decided to go naturall. I went to the barber one day (after much deliberation) and instructed her to cut it all off. I rocked a short natural for a while, and it was very liberating, until my hair started growing out and I didn't cut it. It was very hard to deal with because it is very thick. Needless to say, I went back to the creamy crack.

    Hair, like life, is all about choices. I am not my hair, but it is a part of me.

    Gabby is a beautiful, talented young lady and the state of her hair is a non-issue. What she just showed the world with all that talent IS THE ISSUE. She and her family made great sacrifices and she dedicated herself to her sport to reach that pinnacle!

    Give props where they are due and cut out the nonsense. It's so nonproductive.

    Gabby, you will really look cute on the Corn Flakes boxes! You really represent ALL young girls very well!!

    August 7, 2012 at 4:04 am | Report abuse |
    • jazziette

      Excellent comment !!!!

      August 7, 2012 at 4:24 am | Report abuse |
  90. homer

    Yeah, her hair kinda sucks. As someone with MPB, my hair is much worse so I can sympathize. I really don't give a crap though and I doubt Gabby Douglas does either. She's a gymnast (the best in the world), not a supermodel.

    August 7, 2012 at 3:48 am | Report abuse |
  91. coreyjohnson93

    Good Lord. Miss Douglas is one of the (if not the) youngest ladies to receive a gold medal in the modern Olympics, and people complain about her hair? This non-controversial trash originated on Fox News like the rest of the social garbage we as a society tend to associate with nowadays. Who the bloody hell cares about the young lady's hair?

    August 7, 2012 at 3:42 am | Report abuse |
  92. Brendan

    Why focus on anything? And who's focusing on her hair?

    August 7, 2012 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  93. Homer

    I really don't understand this. Her hair? Gimme a break...no give HER a break! She's not only an incredible athlete but she's an incredibly attractive young lady. I think her hair looks great!

    Gabby, I doubt that you read these comments but on the slim chance that you do please don't let the pettiness get in your head. The vast majority of Americans are in awe of you AND we think your hair looks great!

    August 7, 2012 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
  94. Nicoleasm

    Wow, very crazy that black people would talk about her hair. It looked like a black girls hair, and that's sad other blacks dont understand that, or maybe they don't understand anything but fake and over processed hair. She's a kid and so cute! If she worried about her hair all the time, she wouldnt be an Olympian. I have a black friend that won't swim for exercise with me because she tells me her hair will mess up

    August 7, 2012 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      Nicoleasm, stop the lie right now. Not all blacks are criticizing Gabrielle.

      August 7, 2012 at 2:31 am | Report abuse |
      • Nicoleasm

        Of course not, judging by the comments here, everyone is coming to her defense. So I don't know WHO is spreading the negativity

        August 7, 2012 at 6:36 am | Report abuse |
  95. Kane

    I really don't understand the point of talking about her hair. Hair is hair.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
  96. chuck wagon

    Here lies the problem of the orignator of this topic –

    Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people!

    August 7, 2012 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
  97. Cher-Lynn

    Amazing what people focus on and tear apart. When Gabby and the other young ladies were competing in their sport, I didn't see hair styles or even color. I saw 5 fantastic young women who were outstanding. I was proud of them and loved seeing them perform to the best of their abilities. I haven't seen color of their skin in any of the athletes, that isn't important. It's what's inside, what they can do that is important. It's sad that so many others only see what's outside.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  98. Amanda

    First of all, I can't believe anyone would be focused on her hair of all things. She had it pulled back to keep out of her face while she performed amazing feats. Second of all, I am genuinely curious as to why one would be ashamed of their natural hair. Even as a Caucasian woman, I have always thought African American hair in all it's textures and styles is very beautiful. I have always seen it as strong and powerful, even in it's natural state. I wish I could pull off even a third of the natural hairstyles I see on beautiful African American women. Mine just lies lank and boring without a ton of product to boost it.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      There is nothing wrong with her hair. She can wear it whatever way she wants too. Explanations such as, "She had it pulled back to keep out of her face while she performed amazing feats," is not necessary. No explanation is needed. She has the same rights as you do to wear her any way that she wants too. Most African-Americans are not hung up on her hair. Most of us did not notice her hair until reading the CNN articles.

      August 7, 2012 at 2:47 am | Report abuse |
  99. Summerday1

    I didn't know that there was an issue with her hair. I think Gabby's ponytail is beautiful and she's beautiful. I think the natural hair of african-american women is really pretty. Women would look best if they focused on the hairstyles that fit their hair type, instead of trying to change their hairtype by making it flat, oily, or putting weird wigs on, which in many cases don't look very good. Braids usually look great when they aren't too tight. In all honestly, this preoccupation with hair makes women (both white and black) loose out on many things.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      In all honesty, I don't care about what you think about how an African-American wears their hair. Your comment is as silly as the Gabrielle haters.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
  100. Derbeno

    Serena Williams is the one looking absolutely ridiculous with these ever changing hairstyles...
    She clearly has a hair physiological problem

    August 7, 2012 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      Do you think that behind your back everyone gives you praises about how you wear your hair?

      August 7, 2012 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Cheryl

      Psychological....really. That's way too deep.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:32 am | Report abuse |
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