Let’s call it what it is: The abuse and harrassment that Gabby Douglas has been forced to experience is misoygnoir, full stop. Time and time again, we refuse to grant Black girls/women/femmes the humanity and freedom that they deserve. They are not ‘allowed’ to feel, to be, to think, and they are definitely not allowed to express. We live in a world where Black women are harassed, bullied, and tortured because they are human, and others would beg to differ. Gabby Douglas, who has been stoic and seemingly emotionless during the current 2016 Olympic games, is not actually allowed to be what many are labeling her: bitter, pissed off and disappointed. Her teammate, Simone Biles, on the other hand has been dubbed super human and the personification of #BlackGirlMagic.
Now, imagine being vilified simply for existing… for feeling… for being. Imagine being told that you are not enough & that everything you are doing is wrong, by the people you hope only would affirm you. Imagine being Gabby Douglas at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio.
Gabrielle Douglas is a record breaking gymnast who earned the nickname “The Flying Squirrel” during the 2012 Olympics due to her undeniable talent and exquisite skill and technique on the uneven bars and balance beam amongst other events. This time around, Gabby is no longer the shining Olympic star that she once was. Another Black girl gymnast has come to take the title of what seems to Token Black Girl Olympian. Optimism can cause one to think that there could be two Black girls dominating a predominantly white sports industry but the fact is, white supremacy and the Black community will not allow that to happen. White supremacist infrastructures limit the prevalence of Black women in their spaces and Misogynoir has implemented a violently patriarchal and competitive dichotomy in our community.
From her hair to her “attitude”, Gabby Douglas is the Black girl that everyone loves to hate this year. During the national anthem, she didn’t have her hand over her heart and white folks had a fit (you would’ve thought that they’d been the victims of systemic anti-Black racism). I couldn’t care less about Gabby not saluting the damn flag. I also don’t give a damn about her not rooting for Simone. Gabby is Simone’s teammate and she’s also her sister. I know that Gabby has an immense amount of love for Simone, but the complex nature of Black girl success lets me know that her “attitude” really has little to with with Simone and everything to do with her presumed disposability. In order for more than one Black girl to succeed WITHOUT the presence of a combat or competition between them, the one who previously reigned must fall. Consider this: Could there be another “Oprah” (success wise), while Oprah Winfrey is still dominating in the manner that she currently is?
The answer? No. Too many Black people, specifically women, within a predominantly white area would be an irreversible infiltration of supremacist power tactics and ruling.
Many of Gabby’s own “sisters”, Black girls and women, who seek not to heal their own trauma have adamantly been striving to place it onto her. Often times, Black women can be their own worst enemies. One of the saddest parts about the hate Gabby is receiving is that her hair and its texture is what warranted most of it. Some Black people are so against “nappy hair”, that they criticize and dehumanize a Black girl who isn’t. Newsflash: 4C hair doesn’t normally straighten when it has contact with sweat. Criticism of natural 4c hair is texturism.
I know this may seem farfetched, but let’s just assume Gabby has more important things to worry about than her hair. Let’s just… assume that she’s focused on something more impactful than kinks and coils.
This incident with Gabby Douglas is just another example of how eager people, (Black, white and other) are when they get the opportunity to tear a Black girl down. She is by far one of the most accomplished athletes ever but people are really ripping her to shreds for her hair and because she didn’t put her hand over her heart during the anthem and because she isn’t the poster child for respectability and patriotism. Let’s be real: Y’all don’t actually give a shit about ANY of those things, you just enjoy participating in breaking Black women down.
Everyone’s favorite fish boy, Michael Phelps was out here giving someone a Suburban Baltimore mean mug but no one would DARE crucify Poseidon for his facial expressions. McKayla Maroney’s bratty pout became iconic but go ahead and label Gabby as bitter and ungrateful because at the end of the day, you’re only “mad” at her because you don’t value her.
Y’all kill me with these double standards. They’re so deeply rooted in misogynoir that they’re practically laughable. Gabby is an all-around gymnast who made history four years ago and has been stripped of her #BlackGirlMagic BY BLACK FOLKS– maybe she doesn’t want to be cheesing for the camera every five minutes.
Ali didn’t have a problem with Gabby. Simone didn’t have a problem with Gabby. Laurie and Madison didn’t have a problem with Gabby. They have all said that she is the first to be congratulatory, that they were all like family, that they all support and love each other, but y’all don’t care. She’s Black and she’s woman and that’s enough for people to attempt to destroy her.
I’m just saying, I’ve never seen anyone intelligent say anything demeaning about Gabby Douglas.
Calm down, y’all. Your misogynoir is showing.