Social media has once again attacked an innocent individual based on incorrect assumptions and perceptions.
Gabby Douglas, a member of the US women’s gymnastic team for the 2016 Rio summer Olympics, has been repeatedly attacked by social media forums for countless reasons throughout her Olympic experience in Rio. She has been scrutinized for her hair (critics and fans claiming she appeared sloppy because her hair was not ‘done’), her body (claims that her leotard was too tight), her supposed lack of patriotism and her apparent failure to support her fellow teammates, all of which has been entirely misinterpreted by media sources.
Douglas, who received the all-around gymnast title in the 2012 summer games, finished seventh in the uneven bars event on Sunday. In an interview that occurred shortly after the event, Douglas was extremely emotional as a result of her disappointment with her performance in addition to being faced with bullying for ludicrous reasons.
“When they talk about my hair or me not putting my hand on my heart of me being very salty in the stands, they’re really criticizing me,” Douglas told reporters on Sunday. “It doesn’t really feel good. It was a little bit hurtful.”
Douglas was referred to as unpatriotic by numerous online critics simply because she failed to place her hand over her breast when the American national anthem was playing. Perhaps her thoughts were not focused on a simple physical representation of an anthem, and instead on the harassment she has been encountering from fans and critics.
She was also categorized as unsupportive of her teammates Aly Raisman and Simone Biles when they captured silver and gold medals in the all-around finals. Perhaps she was feeling emotional considering at the last summer Olympics she claimed gold in such category, and this year placed seventh.
Douglas’ mother Natalie Hawkins weighed on the backlash her daughter has been receiving throughout the Rio games, stating: “You name it and she got trampled. What did she ever do to anyone?”
Douglas’ unfortunate encounters serves as a concrete example as to why social media is manipulative and persuasive. Regardless of what the reality of a situation or a circumstance is, it too often gets exaggerated far beyond reasoning and results in an innocent individuals feeling hurt and attacked.