August 17, 2016

Olympic hair... why is this even a subject?

1. From "The Olympic Games: Time to Stop," by Mark Rippetoe in PJ Media:
... NBC Sports, the de facto owner of the Olympic Games, just doesn't include the “testosterone” sports in their coverage -- unless there is a severe injury that looks very bad on TV. Swimming is fine (no hairy men), all women's sports are fine (no hairy men), gymnastics, ditto (basically a children's sport), skiing is okay (hair doesn't show through lycra), and the equestrian events are just fine (horses are innocent even if hairy).
2. In The Daily Mail, "Why Olympic cyclists DON’T wax their bikini lines: Pubic hair protects against saddle soreness":
Pubic hair helps with the transport and evaporation of sweat away from the skin and also provides some friction protection. [And] hair removal methods, such as waxing, shaving, depilatory creams and epilation, damage the top layer of skin - the epidermis....

'But we knew that we had to try to persuade the girls to stop shaving and waxing if we were going to sort out the saddle pain we knew all of them were suffering with. 'At one point we were saying: 'Should we be buying the girls beard-trimmers?"'
3. And this is just one example of a category of article — "Fear of hair politics stopped me from being an athlete - luckily, it didn't stop Gabby Douglas":
My mom didn't have anything against natural hair. In fact, she wore an Afro into the early '80s. She did, however, know to follow the strictest of fashion rules for all well-groomed black girls, which clearly state that, without exception, the hairline (which, from this point, I'll refer to as edges) should be smooth and, if need be, brushed down and secured with plastic barrettes....

Last Tuesday, shortly after our Final Five took home the gold, Twitter was aflurry with criticism over Biles' and Douglas' hair. Douglas took the brunt of the nastiness - after all, wasn't this her second rodeo? Douglas should know better, especially because, during the 2012 Olympics, in which she took home two gold medals, the then-16-year-old got the same social-media finger-wagging because of her fuzzy edges....
It's one thing when the world knocks you down, but when your own people do - over this kind of ridiculousness - that's a special kind of hurt....

55 comments:

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Who cares if hair is long or short or sprayed or partly grayed?

Wah, wah, wah, waaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!

Peter said...

PJ Media: "The focus of the coverage has shifted from the sports and the athletes' performances to the human interest stories ..."

One might, perhaps, say the same about all journalism: it's not so much about the who-what-where-why-when as about the personalities and, yes, the human interest stories.

How many news stories have you seen that lead with a specific (but carefully chosen) example to illustrate the story?

I suppose this sells (as infotainment) but it's not good journalism. Or good sports coverage.

Ann Althouse said...

There will come a time when you won't even be ashamed if you are fat. La la.

rhhardin said...

Pubic hair doesn't affect saddle soreness.

Women's sit bones are further apart than men's, so they need a wider saddle than men. Once that's set up, there's no pressure on anything that matters. You perch on the sit bones comfortably once your ass gets used to those two pressure points.

Nosing the saddle down, or having a median line cut-out, gives further clearance.

There's no chafing in any case because the shorts don't move over the skin, so hair or not won't matter.

The saddle nose contributes a huge amount to control of the bicycle, via pressure from either thigh as needed, so has to be there.

AFChiling said...

Some of the women golfers are pretty chunky.

Comanche Voter said...

Protection against saddle sores for female bicyclists. Put that item on the list of things I didn't need to know. Now buffalo hair on a saddle blanket---that's the ticket.

dreams said...

I'm seeing more and more fat women on local tv and I don't like the trend however sexist.

dreams said...

"The focus of the coverage has shifted from the sports and the athletes' performances to the human interest stories ..."

They did that years ago to attract more women, men don't care about that stuff. Women, other than those competing and maybe black women don't really like sports, they're just pretending.

I don't watch the Olympics anymore except I did watch the last round of golf which shouldn't even be an olympic event, IMO. I was glad Justin Rose won when it became obvious the USA would finish third.

Ann Althouse said...

The thing about fat was just an inside joke aimed at eric.

Wilbur said...

I've found the Olympics unwatchable for the last 30 or so years. As mentioned above, the coverage is aimed directly at women viewers, hence the virtual tsunami of human interest angles before, during and after each event. Thanks, I'll pass.

If I'm interested in an event I'll watch the highlights later on some channel or website.

mockturtle said...

My older daughter was a gymnast. The reason hair must be tacked down is to prevent any inadvertent flicking of a loose strand of hair, which would incur a huge deduction in points.

mockturtle said...

Oh, and I was pleased to see one of our male divers had hair on his chest.

rhhardin said...

Body hair detects bugs. Each hair is a force amplifier.

Ticks, for example.

mockturtle said...

Women, other than those competing and maybe black women don't really like sports,

Not so! All the women in my family love sports!

dreams said...

"Women, other than those competing and maybe black women don't really like sports,"

"Not so! All the women in my family love sports!"

I allowed for exceptions and your family is just another exception.

J. Farmer said...

Instead of "from being an athlete," shouldn't the last article's headline read "stopped me from trying out for high school track and field?" And I was in high school in the late 90s, and I don't recall any standard issue hairdo for the black females. Although isn't it pretty much standard knowledge at this point that black women have a particularly complicated relationship with their hair texture? Whole documentaries are made about it. The supposed naturalness of ones straight hair or the possible use of hair pieces and extensions is a frequent topic of gossip among black women.

damikesc said...

The first one wasn't about hair per se, just that the focus of the primetime telecasts are for sports aimed at women and with actual athletic endeavors being distant second.

Sports reporters don't seem to realize how utterly superfluous they are. An Olympics broadcast with nobody talking would be great and who actually gives a shit about anything more than the box score for games in the paper?

traditionalguy said...

Hair Entertainment. It is the one thing Robots cannot do, yet.

dbp said...

When I have time to watch in the evening after supper, most of what is on is basketball, soccer and volleyball. I am unusual in liking volleyball and lots of Americans like basketball, but why are they filling hours of air time on sports most Americans don't care about? Most of the time, the USA isn't even in the featured match.

I like weightlifting--especially now that NBC has discovered the existence of weight classes. They used to only show the super heavy weight lifters, who are amazing but who are the least visually appealing in both men's and women's divisions. Jessica Lucero is a good example. Note, this is from the US Olympic trials and you have to sit through an ad.

n.n said...

It increases drag.

Carol said...

Oh, gah. Someone, please delete "quintessential" from the journalist dictionary. Forever.

Anyway, this Good Hair issue is clearly a black thing only. I never ever gave it a second thought, and admire all the different styles I see except maybe the blue and green Brazil hair. Or extensions, whatever they are.

Char Char Binks said...

The Olympics is for people who don't like sports, and can only be bothered with them twice every four years, in other words, for women. That's why the coverage is about hairstyles and sob-inducing backstories of plucky underdogs overcoming adversity.

Titus said...

I get horny watching the Olympics. Specifically the track, swimming and gymnastics. I also learning too!

When I see a hot guy from a country I don't know much about I begin to do some research about the country. What is it like for a gay in say Grenada because I wanted to do the Grenada runner. Or do all the guys from Tonga look like the hottie holding their flag? How much is a flight to Zimbabwe? Does Ethiopia have a gay bar? Are their cruise parks in Trinidad Tobago? One of my current grindr tricks, who I have actually been doing for like 8 months is originally from Trinidad-I could ask him, but we don't talk much. He comes in the loft, immediately takes off all his clothes by the front door, and heads to the bed. He is so reliable too-hard to find on Grindr. I am the least reliable, but he makes me want to be a better person and be more reliable, because he is so reliable.

rhhardin said...

I don't like sports and don't watch any, four years or not.

Szoszolo said...

If "hair politics" stopped you from becoming an athlete, you didn't really want to be one.

mockturtle said...

I don't want to know anything personal about the athletes. I just want to see them perform.

MadisonMan said...

Was there an issue with Simone Manuel's hair too? If not, then people are just trying to generate clicks. All I see is commentary about a tiny gymnast's hair. BFD. I can only assume the women -- and it is women -- writing these articles are having their period, and they're therefore tired and can't think of anything more creative to write about.

If you do not want to see stupid comments, then stay off twitter, which platform lamentably gives voice to the most moronic of people.

Big Mike said...

Go ahead, "fat shame" Kim Rhode to her face. Get right in her face and shame her!

Preferably while she's holding her shotgun.

Big Mike said...

I propose a rule. No one is allowed to criticize an Olympic medalist about his or her appearance in any way shape or form unless that critic has an Olympic medal of his or her own.

rehajm said...

The water polo athletes shave for two reasons: one- there are no referees under water and two- armpit and pubic hair can be pulled.

Fernandinande said...

dbp said...
Jessica Lucero is a good example.


How was her snatch?

Bill said...

People are giving Gabby Douglas grief because she's not giggly and perky. Her hair is the least of it.

mockturtle said...

People are giving Gabby Douglas grief

What people. Mediaswine?

Sam L. said...

Time to Stop: I watched most of the fencing. They had good commentators, knowledgeable and experienced.

Black hair: No matter WHAT you do, SOMEBODY'S gonna complain about it, and hundreds, if not thousands, more will chime in, for and against. Not only about hair, but any and every damned thing. It seems a lot of women live just to criticize other women.

rhhardin said...

I didn't watch fencing, but as a (saber) fencer, I'd say there's not much to see. Even judges standing four feet away can't tell what the hell happened.

A nice guy calls hits on himself himself.

rhhardin said...

My fairly successful obscure skill was drawing a head attack by standing slightly wrong and nailing the guy in the hand when he attacks, an exception to the right of way rule.

Works only on new opponents, say in a meet.

dbp said...


Fernandinande said...

"dbp said...
Jessica Lucero is a good example.

How was her snatch?"

LOL

But seriously...

It is fabulous! Better than my clean by 50 lbs and I am a guy who outweighs her by 30 lbs.

David said...

More proof the world is full of assholes.

Freeman Hunt said...

This Olympics I've watching a bit of the following: powerlifting, swimming, fencing, water polo, golf, springboard diving, synchronized diving, and track and field. I have to agree with rh about watching fencing.

My favorites to watch are the track and field events. Bolt is especially fun to watch because his sprinting looks like magic--it doesn't seem possible that such a tall, lanky person could sprint so fast, and yet, there he goes.

tim maguire said...

Some time ago the networks figured out they could make more money marketing sports to non-sports fans. The monopolistic nature of sports coverage means that fans will keep coming back no matter how annoyed they get by the human interest stories and the focus on celebrations of accomplishments rather than the accomplishments themselves.

I noticed about ten years ago that the cameramen often don't understand the sports they're covering, opting to focus on things irrelevant to the game while cutting away from events that do matter. It's only a matter of time before the sportscasters don't know much about it either--we're already seeing female sportscasters cover sports you know they've never played.

Bob said...

I noticed that older porn, let's call it vintage porn is ALOT hairier than todays offerings.

I guess there is no more hirsute pursuit.

wild chicken said...

The director chooses the camera...but yeah, boring shots.

I hate human interest.

John Constantius said...

Rhhardin's point is why I don't like fencing. It's based on sword combat, but watching the matches, it looks like the combatants either would have killed each other or wouldn't have hurt each other in the slightest. Not exactly emulating "true" sword fighting. Lame. In other stylized forms of combat like judo or sumo, the contestants throw down like they could do it for real if they had to.

rhhardin said...

A fencer can hold off a boxer in boxing with one hand for a minute or so, just using parries.

John Constantius said...

The "Flashman" series has a scene where a young Bismarck tackles an English boxing champion and brings him down, because the champ was expecting to play by the rules and wasn't expecting a bull rush. The champ proceeds to beat Bismarck's ass, much to Flash Harry's delight (Bismarck remembers that Flashman was responsible for the situation and ultimately makes him pay), but Bismarck gets a few licks in.

I guess my point is that a boxer (or anyone else) would not be held off by a fencer's "parries" so long as they refused to follow the fencer's rules - and there are no rules in a real combat. Fencing is too artificial to be taken seriously.

Cath said...

@John Constantius - fencing seems more "real" as a sport when you consider that foil (valid target: torso & neck) is meant to mimic an actual duel where you have to hit a vital area to score, and epee is more like a duel of honor where simply drawing blood anywhere on the body, not killing, is the goal. Sabre started as training for cavalry soldiers, hacking and slashing above the waist, not necessarily expecting to kill with one stroke.

@rhardin, as a sabre fencer you might indeed enjoy the current televised Olympic fencing. Between video reviews for the judges, and super slo-mo replays with intelligent explantory commentary for the viewers, even an epee fencer could conceivably follow the sabre action.

Iapetus said...

I was traveling though Asia and Australia in 2000, at the time of the Sydney Olympic games, and I turned on the TV in my hotel room to watch some of the events. I chanced upon a couple of the badminton matches. That is one enormously fast action sport. If you don't have lightning quick reflexes, you don't stand a chance. The matches were actually pretty exciting as a spectator sport. I think all the medalists in the sport except for one or two of them were Asians.

virgil xenophon said...

@lapetus/

As a former collegiate scholarship varsity tennis player who also played AAU Badminton (in the 60s--Fossil that I am) I can certainly attest to the accuracy of your observation..

virgil xenophon said...

As an old Sabre fencer I've certainly enjoyed the commentary. Although LSU did not have an NCAA fencing program when I was an undergrad long ago, it did have club fencing which was my intro to the sport. FWIW A good blogster friend of mine, (and of others who occasionally post here, Ron Snyder and Ron M from the Chicago area for example) a retired Navy Captain and fellow fighter-pilot (I was AF) and Annapolis grad who ran his own blog Neptunus Lex, was an NCAA All-American in Sabre. Unfortunately he was killed in an aircraft accident three years ago flying as a contract civilian employee training Naval fighter pilots.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I haven't read this comment thread with any meaningful concentration, and I'm fairly intoxicated, but I'd just like to say that Olympic weightlifting is admirable in that it is one of the events where you can really, really hurt yourself.

I'm guessing that the same can be said for the equestrian sports.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Would I rather drop a barbell down on top of me, or have a horse fall on top of me?

Hmmmmmm . . . tough call.

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm curious as to how others view doping. My assumption is that nearly all of them are doping to some degree, and the rules are there to keep the doping from being too out of hand and harmful. The rules also, however, turn otherwise honest athletes into liars, which is regrettable. How to accomplish the former without the side effect of the latter...

Brando said...

I see no mention of ladies volleyball, which is an outrage.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Virgil,

Neptunus Lex died? Aw man!

Bad Lieutenant said...

Meanwhile, does anyone understand what is happening with this purported swimmers robbery hoax deal in Rio? What the...? Why would they do such a thing? This makes no sense. Were they covering up a visit to a tranny cathouse or something?