What are people freaking out about these days? Friday FREAK OUT will help you stay up to date!
Today’s FREAK OUT…Gabby Douglas’ HAIR. Yep, that’s right- the 16 year old won the all-around gold medal in gymnastics, and people are freaking out on Twitter about her hair. Check out this Huffington Post article that outlines the freak out- you can also vote in their poll, “What do you think of Gabby’s hair?”.
This FREAK OUT highlights society’s obsession with appearance and expectations of conforming to gendered norms. Instead of applauding Gabby for her great accomplishment and fabulous performance, people are blowing up about her use of the appropriate amount of gel. This kind of focus on appearance perpetuates the expectation that individuals need to look a certain way, rather than cultivating appreciation for individuality.
And while we are focusing on the gymnasts’ appearances- why not point out the glitter factory on the Russian team? Or the blue eyeshadow on some of the other Americans? Why are we only hearing an outcry about Gabby?
Societal expectations of appearance can take a daunting toll on individuals as they seek to stand out from the crowd while fitting in, to feel comfortable in their own skin and identity while being accepted by others. It doesn’t help a 16-year old to have people jumping down her throat for her hairstyle, when really it’s absolutely fine. She already has to worry about judges critiquing her flips, tumbles and landings without the public criticizing her hairstyle.
Educators- how can you help your participants understand the value of individuality, personality, and achievement rather than obsessing about conforming to societal expectations of hair?