Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Tipping Point: Women in the Olympics

The 2012 London Games have been a huge turning point for Women.  Women in the media.  Women in the workplace.  Women in sports.  Women in general.

The US women won 58 medals.  FIFTY-EIGHT.  We didn't top the medal count for women in the world.  But we. won. 58 medals.

More than the men in our country.

But that isn't the point.

The medals aren't the point.

The topping of the men isn't the point.

The point is that the women of this Olympics have changed the face of women's sports and women in the media forever.

Never before have women represented our country so faithfully, so beautifully, and with so much gusto and sportsmanship.

It was with great pride that I viewed every women's event.

I swelled with joy as our women's beach volleyball team overcame Brazil, whose team was trash-talking and even arguing with one another during the game.  Our women were losing, but they fought together and with unity and they were rewarded with victory.

All of the U.S. women displayed positive responses to winning and to losing.

The announcers couldn't be silent.  Near the end of the games all of them were raving about women in sports.  Women being just as exciting if not more exciting to watch than men.  This commercial from Nike sums it up for me:

I cried watching it.

These Olympics prove we've come a long way when it comes to equality and women's sports.

And in that, I am proud to be an American.

And yet...there's a tarnish on that gold: our reaction to Gabby Douglas.  The young woman who made history when she took gold in the all-around.

The tweets and FB posts in reaction?  They talked about how she had "bad hair".  I was floored by that.  She wins gold and we're talking about the way her hair looks?  Oy.

The worst thing?

It's us.

It's the women who are tweeting and posting on FB about Gabby's hair.

Forgetting Gabby's spirit.  Forgetting Gabby's skill and precision.  Forgetting how she brought home gold for this country.  Forgetting her beauty, inside and out.

It's an issue.  A serious one.  Because it proves something:  the biggest thing holding back women in this country?  Other women.

We look at a girl like Gabby Douglas and we see someone with whom we must compete, instead of someone we must lift up.  We want to tear her down.  We have a problem with her hair.

Bottom line?  That's jealousy, people.  Pure and simple.

We need to get over it.  We need to get over ourselves.

For the good of women and girls all over the world - let's take some pride in who we are as women.  In the fact that there are strong, amazing, intelligent and talented women all over the world making history.  And let's stand behind them.  Together.

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