Women, We Need To Celebrate – Deborah Tan

It may seem strange for a women’s magazine to say this: There are bigger, more important things than the way your hair is styled, the way your makeup is done and the way your body looks.

It seems strange (and even contradictory) that a magazine with a beauty section should tell you that there are more important things in the world than physical beauty.

It’s not strange at all.

Most people don’t see women’s magazines beyond our fashion and beauty sections. In fact, most people really do judge magazines by our covers. Features ed Denise and I have this “personal mission” to tell people that beyond all these, women’s magazines are about personal ambition, about living life to the fullest, and about staying true to yourself … and, all these add up to make a woman truly beautiful.

But this is not the point – at least not the main point – of my post.

It’s Olympic season and I too find myself moved by the sportsmanship and the achievements of the athletes that’ve made it to London 2012. Most of these young people will be performing feats that are possible because of many years of hard training and strict lifestyle regimes. Each of them will have to overcome mental and emotional hurdles to give their best performances in this Olympics. Some will walk away with medals. Most will walk away with only a memory.

Whether or not you are personally related to an Olympian or whether you’re just a spectator, I think it’s only decent we all play a part in fostering this spirit and in supporting the athletes on their journey.

It’s easy to support a good-looking athlete like Marcel Nguyen. When you share his picture on your Facebook,  it’s likely your friends will go, “OMG! He’s hot!”

It’s not so easy, however, to support someone like the Australian weightlifter Seen Lee who, it seems, have offended many people’s idea of “what is acceptable” by not shaving her underarms. When I saw her pictures being shared on Facebook and all the comments that followed these posts, my first thought was, “The girl’s only memory of London 2012 is going to be all this BS about her underarms? That’s just brutal.”

Today, I saw a post a friend shared about Gabby Douglas – the second African American girl to have made the USA’s gymnastic team, and who has won TWO GOLDS in this year’s Olympics. Instead of celebrating her achievements, I read that people are giving her grief for not “getting her hair done”.

It’s horrible being a female athlete, it seems. You are expected to look like a Swimsuit Illustrated model, and nothing less.

For someone who embraces an active lifestyle, I can tell you it takes commitment to stay on a fitness regime. Trying to clock in three hours of workout a week is hard enough. These girls were probably training for more than 10 hours a day. Their commitment to their sports have brought them to the Olympics … and all we care about is their hair?

Today, I am asking every one of you to support female athletes not for the way they look, not for the way their bodies look … but for the fact that they have been able to achieve something most MEN can’t.

For centuries, we have been defined by our faces and our bodies. Till today, many of us are still expected to play the roles of obedient daughters, fertile wives and selfless mothers.

This year, all participating nations of the Olympics have female athletes. That’s a FIRST in sporting history!

These female Olympians have shown us all something:

That we don’t have to be defined by ANYTHING other than our own dreams, hopes and achievements.

Not every female athlete will walk away victorious this year, but as women, if we stand by our sisters, we can all be winners.

2 Responses to “Women, We Need To Celebrate – Deborah Tan”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Super like!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] When you think about it … this situation is really quite bizarre. In many other instances, a woman isn’t just expected to be good at what she does but ALSO be attractive. Remember that picture that circulated not too long ago of the Australian female weightlifter with unshaven armpits? Despite her amazing feat of having made it to the Olympics, people chose to focus on the “appalling” fact that a woman could care so little about grooming (read more about why ed-in-chief Debs thinks the onus lies on women to start celebrating the achievements of our gender here. […]

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