As the Olympic games come to an end we can look back and see the accomplishments made by women. But what did we really accomplish? Gabby Douglas was the first African-American to win the gymnastic all around gold medal as well as the gold for the USA gymnastics team. But all we heard about was her hair. The two women from Saudi Arabia were the first women to participate in the Olympics. But they were called #prostituteoftheOlympics on Twitter even before competing. Allison Schmitt won a gold medal for swimming but was criticized for not being sexy enough and Lolo Jones was criticized for being too sexy. Lolo blamed this kind of talk for her lack luster performance in the Olympics. Serena Williams won two gold medals in the Olympics for tennis, having won the most Golden Grand Slams, man or women in both singles and doubles. But all they could talk about was her “crip walk” victory dance. I read an article in the New York Times where the writer said, “Hey, girls, you can play, but only under these rules”:
- Be pretty, but not too pretty
- Celebrate but only in approved ways
- And by all means, when breaking down huge color barriers, make sure your hair is styled in a way that is pleasing to everybody
And women, let’s stop being our own worst enemy by contributing to the double standards in the Olympics. We should be looking at accomplishments of women in the Olympics, not their hair, clothes and looks. If we don’t support one another, how can we expect to get the respect we deserve? When we stand by and allow the criticism of these women we are creating discrimination for women everywhere. So let’s go get the gold but don’t forget the respect.