Monday, August 6, 2012

Things I don't understand: treatment of female Olympians


While I was at a poker party with some friends on Saturday night, (I came in second place. No big deal.) the conversation turned to the Olympics. I haven't been watching, so I remained fairly silent. But then, one of the guys, who I just met that night, started commenting on the appearance of female athletes. (That's the nicest way I know how talk about the bile, hate and sexism spewing from his mouth.) He was talking about the women competing in judo and how "no one would ever have sex with them." Now these comments came directly after a Facebook rant I had on Friday about the way the media and the public are talking about female Olympians' bodies. So, let's just say, I was more than a little annoyed. (Somehow I thought the people I surround myself with were above such things. Silly me. Sexism is EVERYWHERE!)

So anyway here, in full, is my response... which I so wish I had articulated at the time.

Hey douche bag.
A) Just because these amazing women don't fit into your incredibly narrow idea of what is beautiful, doesn't mean there aren't men or women out there who would gladly take them to bed.
And B) What the hell does how sexually desirable they are have to do with their ability to perform as athletes? Their appearance should count for very little. They aren't competing in a beauty pageant after all. They're at the Olympics! That means that these women are the best in their sport. So, I'm pretty sure when they're out there competing for a medal, their thoughts aren't on the fact that their muscles and strength are turning off men who are too insecure to date women that can beat them to a pulp. No. They're probably focusing on the podium that's within their reach. It's really too bad there isn't a competition for douche bags so you could have a podium to focus on.
And last but not least, C) Who the hell are you to talk about women that way? You're sitting back watching the Olympics from a lazy boy chair with a beer in hand. You're definitely not an Olympic athlete worthy of all the respect in the world. No. You're just a jerk who values women only for their bodies and the sexual satisfaction they can give you. Maybe you should take five seconds to think about the fact that these women might deserve recognition for a little more than their looks. Like, maybe, their strength, their skills and their achievements?

I wish my rant could end here, but as you can see from the photo above, I need to drag the Gabby Douglas haters into this. I don't know if you-all have been paying attention to the social media assault that took place after Gabby won gold, but I have and I'm appalled. Here's the lowdown. Basically, jealous and hateful men and women who only value women for their physical appearance hit Twitter with some hella rude comments about Gabby and her "nappy hair". Yup, that happened. Apparently the public feels that for an athlete to be competing in London, they first need to get their hair did. Actually, scratch that. They think that women do. Because, you know, your ability to perform athletically hinges on how good you look.

Truth be told, I think people care less about a woman's ability to win a medal than they care about what she looks like while doing it. People would rather see swimsuit models (which is often how female Olympians are treated anyway) than women with muscles or women who sweat or women who choose to put their hair in a ponytail. This is just another way for our misogynistic society to hold women back. The more we're tied to what we look like, the less respect we get. And let me tell you, I am sick of it.

The only thing I can say is thank goodness there have been media reports and blog posts slamming this treatment and bringing attention to this blatant sexism.

I just hope that the women being targeted are able to look beyond these hateful comments and relish in their achievements.


  1. Man oh man do I love this post. I have such a hard time articulating my feelings about things like this. I could rant for days about it and I really appreciate an honest opinion piece!

  2. I can hardly believe all the things I have been reading from both men and women. It's pretty darn appalling. And the whole thing about Gabby's hair is absolutely ridiculous! Who the heck cares?! The whole thing is just so annoying and makes me hate the internet sometimes because we are just now constantly blasted by all this BS. Ugh.

  3. Oh my goodness, what's all this about Gabby's hair? I have just finished watching her performing and I was absolutely blown away by how beautiful her smile was and just how happy she looked to be up there! (I'm saying this all in a quiet voice because, you know, I'm Team GB!). I can't say I was even paying any attention to her hair!

    Here in the UK, a journalist published a horrifically misogynistic rant about women's judo and how he's so afraid that they might bruise their "soft feminine limbs". The resulting outcry renewed my faith in humanity.


  4. Agreed. One huge reason to look forward to the end.

  5. Loved reading this post! It really upsets that people have no filter or sense of respect for others. I agree with what you said: these are world-class athletes who have worked their asses off to make to to where they are. The last thing Gabby is probably concerned about is her hair when she's out on the floor preforming her routines. Besides, she is a beautiful girl. These women are tough, amazing, and dedicated - no need to be bashing on their abilities. It's a shame we can't just enjoy the Olympics for what it is. The criticism makes no sense to me. Thanks for sharing this!


  6. Ugh it really is so sad, you articulated it really well. I got so angry the other day when I read this article talking about how many nations had their mens teams fly first class and their womens teams fly coach.. And get this: even when the womens teams were ranked higher than the mens! So frustrating!!

  7. UGH I THINK YOU ARE MY FAVORITE. I can't believe the things said about Gabby Douglas. People are so ugly sometimes... and I'm not talking on the outside (that's saved to the shallow, waste-of-air individuals not unlike the guy that prompted this post).

    Thank you for standing up. Seriously, you are the raddest.

  8. How sad and ridiculous. I am so happy that you stood up for women everywhere- especially the olympic athletes. Gabby Douglas is the sweetest thing ever and I can't believe people could be so mean. It breaks my heart.

  9. it's amazing to always see how men and women view women's bodies. i would be VERY happy with almost any of those women's bodies, and after watching the Olympics, it almost always motivates me to work out and be more healthy.

  10. what a jerk! he has no respect for these young girls and how they have devoted their life, working as hard as they could for five minutes of airtime at the olympics and a chance to win gold! I am your newest follower. I cannot wait to read more of your posts and hope that maybe you can return the favor and follow The Preppy Student. I always comment for every comment left on my page and hope to start a friendly relationship with your wonderful blog! Have a happy Monday:)


    Always tell d bags whats up. Always. Especially when they talk about Gabby THE FLYING SQUIRREL's hair (okay, maybe I'm a fan. sorta).

  12. YES!! Most favorite post ever. I can definitely agree. That guy sounds an insecure, shallow prick. He wishes he could do half of what those girls can do.

  13. thank you, thank you, thank you. a lot of the comments regarding the female athletes are disgusting. And poor Gabby. Speaking from experience, the last thing a young, African American girl needs is to be made insecure about her hair. she is so beautiful and beyond talented. thanks for the post!

  14. Exactly what needed to be said. I hate people who are all "wtf I wouldn't even touch that"... A person is not a subject and should certainly not be valued by her fysical appearance. This is so annoying, meh.

  15. I hope you've emailed this link to your friend. What a douche.
    Tell him I think he's hideous and I'd never have sex with him. ;)

  16. LOVE this post. so so so so true. THANK YOU for sharing this :) i love it and will be showing all of my fellow women.