Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Olympic Looks

I am SO DANG TIRED of reading articles about the Olympic athletes that are based solely on the way they look, wear their hair, dress, apply makeup, etc. Why can’t we focus on what they did while participating in one of the greatest sporting events in the world against the best in the world?! These athletes are most often very young, to the point of being in high school or college (depending on the sport) and I think it is absolutely disrespectful and terrible that people actually write articles about these amazing young individuals that are mostly negative about their looks. 

I’ve been working towards a goal of not standing by and letting people argue out certain issues or do certain things that I think are inherently wrong. Not saying anything is a silent acquiescence to the negative or bad behavior that others are exhibiting and I WILL NOT DO THAT. The first article I came across was mostly about the gymnastics rules that prohibited 17 year old Jordyn Wieber from participating in the individual all-around competition. This article went on to say how Wieber’s makeup was too much, how Gabby Douglas (15) is easily everyone’s favorite because she is so cute and how McKayla Maroney (16) has a (excuse the language) “bitchface.” Seriously? We are going to judge the worth of these women based upon the way they look or how they apply makeup? Maybe we should focus on the fact that this team of YOUNG women got the first team gold for the USA since 1996. How Douglas is the first US woman have both a team and all around gold? How they are positively representing their country? How they made such extraordinary decisions to pursue this at such a young age? Where are all the articles about that?

Following this article, I’ve seen criticism after criticism of MANY female athletes based upon their looks. Many of these articles claim the athletes are overweight, ugly, need to get things fixed etc. REALLY? The other thing that has really stuck out at me is that we do not see ANY articles or blogs about how unattractive all the male athletes are (only articles about how attractive they are). It seems that most articles about male athletes focus on the right things, how well they are doing in London, how great it is that they are representing their country, etc. Which is GREAT!  The question that really bothers me is why on earth do the female athletes have to deal with this media? I have made an active effort since reading the first article to NOT CLICK OR READ these types of things. They want traffic and I won’t give it to them.

 I also have thought about how it is such a struggle as a woman to balance the feeling of wanting to look good with working hard to accomplish something, whether it is pursuing Olympic gold or being successful in a corporate environment. It seems to me, most of the time, when I have a disagreement with someone, they go straight to the argument that I’m ugly. I think many individuals know that many females will have a visceral reaction to this and lose sight of what they are doing. Basically, when someone says these negative things, they are actively trying to handicap you. I’ve gotten to the point of agreeing that I’m one ugly girl and then getting back to the situation at hand. They always look so surprised… As a woman, I would suggest that both women and men do not place their self-worth and self-esteem into the hands of others. I only care about me and my close friend’s opinions of myself. 

The last thing I have to say is that I hope that these articles don’t affect these girls, because I find each one of them to be amazing! Who out there can say they have competed in such an international, high profile competition all before you turn 21? Not me, and I applaud them for being so amazing!

ON A SIDE NOTE: I am doing a research study on Social Media Habits and Personality. It requires you to be at least 18 and have a Twitter Account. I’d need you to fill out a survey and then download an Excel spreadsheet of your tweets (sent to belindaksmith@gmail.com). The link to the survey is here and the link to downloading your tweets is here. I’d appreciate any and all of your participation!!