Gabby Douglas as hair role model?
We here at the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery are Olympics’ fans like everyone else. Normally, you wouldn’t think the Olympics would create a hair controversy, but this year, we caught a whiff of a media stir that merits our comment.
When U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas was winning gold medals for her tumbling and aerobatics, she also drew some flak from people criticizing her for her rather unpolished hair. Douglas, who is only 17, uses clips and gel to keep her hair in place and out of her eyes while performing. Apparently, some commentators felt she should use the limelight to demonstrate that African-American gymnasts ought to be beautiful and athletic.
According to an article in the Washington Post, criticism ranged from: “Why hasn’t anyone tried to fix Gabby Douglas’ hair?” sniped one on Twitter,” to “gabby douglas gotta do something with this hair! these clips and this brown gel residue aint it?”
As hair restoration surgeons, we found the outcry to be disappointing. If fact, we hold Ms. Douglas up as an excellent role model for her hair. Why you ask? Well, as we’ve said before, African-American women tend to put their hair through nothing less than torture to make it look good. From corn rows and tight braids to flat ironing, African-American women can put their hair at risk for hair loss. And it can get serious: many African American women suffer from a condition called ‘Scarring that occurs on the top of the scalp. Like most surgeons, we advocate for preventative, conservative measures as treatment first. No one wants to have surgery if steps can be taken to avoid it. We think Ms. Douglas deserves praise for taking a common sense approach to her hair—one that we hope others will follow.