The way we initially found out that people were supposedly criticizing Gabby Douglas’ hair was via an article that included four tweets, two of which were “negative.”
When we went to Twitter to see what people were saying, the only tweets we saw that said something negative about her hair (2 or 3), were in response to people responding to those who supposedly critisized her hair. Since that time, there have been tons of tweets, Facebook posts, and rebuttal photos slamming the supposed haters of Gabby’s hair.
We, however, were left wondering who in the world was actually talking about her hair? It seems that tweeters, bloggers, and even the mainstream media have concocted a story out of nothing. They amplified a handful of ridiculous tweets, giving them legitimacy.
In the end, the people who are actually “obsessing” about Gabby’s hair are the ones accusing this mysterious band of Gabby hair criticizers of saying something bad about her hair. Most of the negativity–the small amount that we did see–came after people began defending her from a widespread attack that never occurred.
To make matters worse, the mainstream media–taking their cues from social media as usual–decided to jump in the mix and actually mentioned the criticism to her and asked for an official response. How ridiculous!
The Effect On Gabby’s Performance
Any competitor will tell you that having your head in the right place is often the difference between winning and losing a game. Gabby’s Olympic performance since the hair debate isn’t what people expected after her early gold-medal win. We’ll never know what Gabby’s performance would have been like if Hairgate had never occurred. We’re certainly not saying the criticism is why she didn’t do well in subsequent competitions, but it was an unnecessary distraction that surely wasn’t helpful.
Why Some Things Don’t Deserve A Response
This sort of thing always happens. For instance, every year a new disease scare arises–mad cow disease, H1N1 Influenza, etc.–and people over-react, with the help of push by the media. So in response to a few cases (in relation to total population) of illnesses and deaths, governments with the backing of citizens stockpile medications that never go into use, because there was never a huge threat to begin with. Some may argue that preparation is never a bad thing if the illnesses would have spread significantly, and that may even be a good point.
If the argument of preparation is a valid one, then maybe, the furor over Gabby Douglas’ hair is the people’s way of staving off future attacks on Black hair. But, obviously and sadly, it was not. Response to the few cases of negative comments was the public over-medicating the condition. And, that doctoring resulted in the rise of attacks on the 16 year old gymnast’s hair.
Shouldn’t We Be Paying Attention To Other Things?
One of the things we found most confounding was the sheer number of people who chose to respond to Gabby Douglas’ hair. Many of these people say nothing about other situations facing our world, but they felt compelled to stand up–almost ready to take to the streets–defending Gabby’s hair.
In the end, we should all do that which we as individuals decide we must do. It’s not for us (or anyone else) to dictate the cause that someone else should fight. Nevertheless it is a bit disappointing when people decide to stand up over something that was a manufactured pretense in the first place.