Gabby Douglas apologizes for saying abuse victims should ‘dress modestly’

Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Awards 2017

I have not written about Larry Nassar, the pedophile doctor who was employed by Team USA Gymnastics. I haven’t written about that whole situation because it’s so awful and tragic and I wouldn’t even know what to write, honestly. Nassar is facing 22 counts of felony sexual misconduct for abusing multiple young gymnasts. One of those gymnasts was Olympian Aly Raisman, one of the Final Five gymnasts who dominated Rio and London. Nassar started abusing Raisman when she was just 15 years old. Raisman has been telling her story for several weeks, and she recently did a 60 Minutes interview about Nassar and sexual abuse in gymnastics. Aly is a special young woman and she’s been brave and extraordinary in how she talks about what happened to her, and what she wants in terms of accountability in the future. She’s also been talking about the need to not judge the young victims for NOT coming forward sooner. She posted this message on her social media on Friday:

“Just to be clear…Just because a woman does a sexy photoshoot or wears a sexy outfit does not give a man the right to shame her or not believe her when she comes forward about sexual abuse. What is wrong with some of you? AND when a woman dresses sexy it does not give a man the right to sexually abuse her EVER. Women are allowed to feel sexy and comfortable in their own skin, in fact I encourage you all to wear what you feel good in. I will not put up with any woman or girl being shamed for wanting to wear a skirt, dress, etc. I do not tolerate it. Are we clear? Oh and one more thing. STOP VICTIM SHAMING. It is because of you that so many survivors live in fear.”

[From Aly’s Twitter]

It’s sick and perverse to think that some people were attacking Raisman and the other victims for NOT coming forward sooner, or for how they dressed. These were little girls. Nassar was an adult predator. Raisman’s bravery should not be questioned, nor should her message be second-guessed. But it was second-guessed… by her former teammate Gabby Douglas, who wrote in response: “However it is our responsibility as women to dress modestly and be classy. Dressing in a provocative/sexual way entices the wrong crowd.” NO. No no no no no no. NO. Stop. Gabby eventually deleted it, but not before people had screencapped it:

What’s interesting is that guess who jumped in to defend Raisman? Simone Biles. Simone tweeted to Gabby: “Shocks me that I’m seeing this but it doesn’t surprise me… honestly seeing this brings me to tears bc as your teammate I expected more from you & to support her. I support you Aly & all the other women out there! STAY STRONG.” Gabby then tried to play it off, responding to someone else: “U misunderstood me. Not blaming the victim at all. No man should look at any woman that way.” And then this:

There’s a lot of talk about “canceling” Gabby Douglas for her initial reaction, which was basically “it’s your responsibility to stop men from raping by dressing modestly,” which is a theory that we, as a society, have outgrown rather quickly. It is not a valid argument whatsoever. But should Gabby be “canceled” for making that argument? I say no – I say this was all a learning experience and a teachable moment, and I hope she learned the right lesson. I appreciate the fact that Simone had Aly’s back and now I wonder if there was a lot of simmering gymnastics drama in that crew.

Kids’ Choice Sports Awards 2017

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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119 Responses to “Gabby Douglas apologizes for saying abuse victims should ‘dress modestly’”

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    • Lexter says:

      When will women stop using this “classy” nonsense. It’s a ridiculous and poorly veiled attempt to control women in public. I see people say it about breastfeeding even!! “Just be classy about it”

    • CGF says:

      I really liked her when she first got big during the Olympics, then started reading her interviews and was so disappointed. This opinion is no surprise to anyone who’s been following her I think, she’s very religious. I am very very skeptical that being called out publicly will change anything, it’s just damage control. She’s brainwashed.

  1. Nicole says:

    There was always a lot of drama there…a lot pushed by the media which was really unfair to the girls. However it was always telling that Gabby was not at ceremonies with the team afterwards on multiple occasions. Very odd.
    Anyways I hope it’s a teachable moment but she’s young so she CAN learn. She’s not like Lena that has been saying this crap on the regular for years.

  2. D says:

    Interesting that Simone Biles says that Gabbys tweet doesn’t surprise her, I wonder if Gabby has said similar things in the past?

    • kibbles says:

      I love Simone Biles and thinks she is a class act. Gabby, not so much. I say this knowing that Gabby has had to face racism and misogyny herself, and I am not excusing that at all. But in terms of her personality and what I have seen from her, I’m not much of a fan. Maybe Simone and some of the other team members feel similarly about Gabby’s overall attitude.

      And I find it ironic that Gabby is talking about dressing modestly when I’ve seen plenty of photographs of her at special events baring midriff and cleavage, like her other teammates. That being said, I have never found anything that they have worn to be trashy or provocative as Gabby stated in her tweet. They are all young athletic women who wear age appropriate dresses. But according to Gabby’s tweet, wearing dresses shown in the photos above is irresponsible? Okay then…

      • Peeking in says:

        There was a comment from someone which said something like “I’ve always wondered if Gabby and Simone got along as teammates, I guess now we know the answer” and Simone liked the comment. So it seems like there was tension on that team between the girls.

    • Hh says:

      That’s the first thing I noticed too. She has never seemed particularly close to any of her team mates and I think we know why. This is very disappointing because I was rooting for her. She has faced so much racism and misogyny, and really stood tall.

      Also, isn’t the “dress modestly” line the same as the “I’m not racist, but…” line? I feel like the tropes are so well known, and yet these people exist.

      • Boxy Lady says:

        I figured that Gabby was jealous of Simone and that probably has bled over into the relationships with the other teammates as Simone seems very well-liked. I remember when Simone dethroned Gabby by being the 2nd female gymnast of African descent to when gold in the all-around and Gabby did not have the look of a supportive teammate. The tension was probably already there before the 2016 Olympics started; gold medals and the media just seemed to magnify those tensions.

      • msw says:

        Much of this probably goes back even farther. What people who don’t follow the sport outside of the Olympics don’t know is, Gabby was a complete come-from-behind surprise. Before 2012, it was the Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman Show. Then, Gabby started to get better, and better, and better, and was MUCH better on bars than either Jordyn or Aly (especially Aly) could hope to be. The USA sent Gabby as an exhibition athlete to the American Cup, which Aly and Jordyn were competing in, and Gabby beat them BOTH. I think Aly got a little twitchy around Gabby at about that time, but the gymnasts were always very classy about their responses and kept any team drama to themselves, through no help of the NBC broadcasting team. (It has been long speculated Shawn Johnson didn’t get along with much of the team, either, although fences seem to have been mended now.) SImone’s response really surprised me because the team usually stays very tight lipped about any disagreement, but I guess SImone decided this was a worthy cause to get on board with. And I’m glad she did, she is a genuinely good person and she and Aly are very well respected for their contributions to USA Gymnastics both on and off the competition floor.

  3. BlueSky says:

    This is exactly why women don’t come forward because of idiots like her. How about instead of lecturing women on how to dress, how about lecturing men not to rape?

  4. detritus says:

    She deserves some flack, but she’s only 21 (22?) and from what Ive heard comes from a conservative religious family and a highly competitive and insular sport.
    On the other hand, she shows a complete lack of empathy for a victim of abuse. I don’t care what the personal politics are, you don’t publicly put down a survivor like that.

    If Aly had not just shared her experience I’d be much more forgiving.

    Simone Biles though, that’s a friend.

    • Clare says:

      Let’s be honest – if Gabby had shared her story and Raismen had responded the same way, we’d be ripping her a new one. Gabby doesn’t get a pass from me – 21 is old enough to know better.

      • detritus says:

        Perhaps its because I was pretty much a PoS on many topics at that age, but I have a lot of sympathy for young women who are still finding their way. For me, when I was 21 I was still participating in being the most outrageous and offensive, and you can bet I offended some people who did not deserve it. I did not know better and I didn’t realize the hurt I was causing.

        TLDR, my own personal trajectory has changed significantly, and I am willing to give a bit of leeway to young women still finding their way. It would be hypocritical for me not to.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      Simone Biles is fantastic, I love her. She seems like an all-around great young woman.

      Aside from Gabby’s age and religious background (didn’t know about that), I think we can’t be too rough on her. Let’s not forget that she has been subjected to some vile sh*t because she’s a black girl. She came up in a sport that was invented for skinny little white girls. ANYthing outside that norm was not welcome in gymnastics for decades. It took a lot for a more athletic body type to prevail and I can count on one hand the women of color who were successful in that sport. It’s a whole different level of racism and bullsh*t and I imagine some things were drilled into her that have lead her to believe she needs to adhere to very strict standards to be accepted in that world. Her statement is crap and we know it but let’s not sh*t on her.

      I hope she learns and I hope Simone is an example for her and every other black girl who’s doing gymnastics right now.

      • detritus says:

        I agree with your entire comment, I’d just fix up the bottom portion a tiny touch :)

        Simone is an example for her and every other girl on how to be a good friend and supporter.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        Okay. :-)

        I just thought it was important to note that in gymnastics, black girls have an especially hard time because they are barely represented. Simone Biles is just fantastic in general.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        Simone faced just as much racism as Gabby and somehow has managed to not say horrible crap like this. I rooted for Gabby and Simone because as a black woman it made me so proud to see them both excel. But she gets no pass from me. She’s 22 years old. Old enough to know better. This is 2017. As women we should have all moved past that toxic internalized misogyny and victim-blaming by now.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        @Valiantly Varnished: I get what you’re saying. I’m usually pretty impatient with fellow women. More impatient than I am with men and that has nothing to do with internalized misogyny but with my expectations. I simply expect more from fellow (white) women because you should know better. I’m just getting tired of cancelling everyone. By January, there won’t be anyone left. I think that can’t be the solution. There must be people who can learn. And I know that sounds condescending but shouldn’t we work towards getting those on board who are young (she is young even if she’s not 14 anymore)? Or who are willing to listen to other sides?

      • Jennie Hix says:

        Gabby was picked on for her hair once and has been riding on the “look at me, I’m a victim” train ever since. Sorry. It’s time for this girl to take responsibility for her actions instead of blaming her every stupid move on something that happened to her 4 years ago. This isn’t the first time she’s shown a major attitude problem. I’m not saying she should be canceled, but she should face backlash for this.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        @LittleMiss there is no OTHER side to this. That’s the point. You know I as a black Muslim woman in 2017 have no f*cks left to give. I will not hand hold I will not “educate”, I will not “give the benefit of the doubt”. I’m done with that. Because we ALL know better. And those who claim to not know better can be left behind with dinosaurs. I have no time for it. This is 2017. Get on board or get the hell out of the way.

      • magnoliarose says:

        I agree@ lmn and detritus.
        No one is born with all the answers, and I think it is much too strong and judgmental to expect girls and women not to make mistakes. No one has all the answers even by the time they are 100 so she said something stupid and uninformed. Conservative religions reward girls that fall in line and they get validated by internalizing the sexism and being ‘good’ girls. It is a form of mild brainwashing. Gabby probably thought she was saying something righteous and correct but learned by being told she was wrong.
        I would rather someone say stupid, uninformed nonsense and learn than someone who thinks they know everything become judgy and arrogant and refuse to grow.
        There is nothing noble about intractability.
        .

      • CGF says:

        @Littlemissnaughty

        So because she’s experienced racism, she should get a pass when she’s being a misogynistic judgmental POS? No, that’s not how it works, at all.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        @VV: Where did I talk about another side? I’m saying I actually do still have patience for young people who are capable of learning. If you don’t, that’s okay. But if we all had your attitude, we wouldn’t achieve any goals at all. There is nothing wrong with trying to educate those who will listen. And no, we don’t all know better.

    • Erinn says:

      She’s showing a complete lack of empathy for someone who she’s worked with too – it’s not even like it’s some completely third party woman (which would still be awful).

      But at the same time – 21/22 isn’t a baby. It’s young, sure. But we should be expecting better from young adults. She’s allowed to believe whatever she wants to believe – but to piggy back off of Aly’s situation and think it was an acceptable response to comment like that shows a complete lack of filter or empathy or both. Keep your gd mouth shut if you can’t contribute in a positive way. That’s a pre-school level lesson – Thumper from Bambi understood it. “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all”.

      It actually makes me even more annoyed that she then tweets “I didn’t correctly word my reply & i am deeply sorry for coming off like i don’t stand alongside my teammates” Girl – what other way could that be worded that didn’t make you come off like an ass? If that’s what you believe -OWN IT. Don’t try to backpedal in an insincere way just to save your own butt.

      I really hope she learns from this. She’s young – she has plenty of time to improve. But you don’t just flippantly make a remark like that if you don’t actually believe what you’re saying.

      • Jayna says:

        “@Erinn says: It actually makes me even more annoyed that she then tweets “I didn’t correctly word my reply & i am deeply sorry for coming off like i don’t stand alongside my teammates” Girl – what other way could that be worded that didn’t make you come off like an ass? If that’s what you believe -OWN IT. Don’t try to backpedal in an insincere way just to save your own butt.

        I really hope she learns from this. She’s young – she has plenty of time to improve. But you don’t just flippantly make a remark like that if you don’t actually believe what you’re saying. ”

        My exact feelings.

      • detritus says:

        definitely. her apology worries me. I mean its still very close to being called out for her nonsense, but it doesn’t show a willingness to understand the alternate viewpoint. I’m hoping time will help.

      • Ksenia says:

        Erinn: I agree with your response completely. I’m not going to say or believe that Gabby seems like an awful person, b/c I don’t know her, but she *does* seem woefully ignorant, as well as shockingly disloyal to her teammate, about sexual abuse. I hope very much she can change over time…Both boys and girls should be taught at home and in school about rape: not to ever do it, that there is never an excuse or justification, or redemption for sexual harassment, abuse, or violence.

      • Jen says:

        @Erinn I agree with you completely. It’s not just her reply to Aly that’s extremely concerning, but also her defense of that initial response. She tries to excuse it as poor wording, but I think it’s actually remarkably clear that’s how she truly feels.

        Like others have said, this could be an opportunity for her to learn and grow, and to not contribute to rape culture.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      In a way it makes you feel sorry for her. She’s clearly had it drilled into her from an early age that female modesty is not only a moral requirement, but an amulet that wards off sexual violence. Besides providing excuses for past, present, and future abusive males, this myth is also taught as a scare tactic to control women/girls and their choices with their bodies. Patriarchal societies have done everything they can to try to scare women off from being ‘a slut’ (which is basically any woman who does anything that anyone finds sexually immoral).
      Another thing that women like her forget when they spew things like this is that different people have different standards for what they consider modesty in dress or dressing ‘classy’. So while they’re judging one woman as sexually immodest and as inviting or causing abuse, someone else is almost certainly going to be judging them the same way- even if the slut-shamng victim-blamer considers herself ‘classy.’ In a patriarchal society, as a woman, you’re always at risk of being someone else’s idea of ‘slut’ or ‘whore’.

      • detritus says:

        everything you’ve said here, everything.

        Modesty is a sliding scale, and putting a moral value something so mutable is not only wrong, but impossible as the context always changes.

        Gabby in an orthodox Islamic country would be over exposed. Even in certain Eastern cultures, showing chest and cleavage is considered too sexual. Tummies in India, legs in Japan, ankles in Canada, none of these things are considered immodest, but in other places they may be seen so.

        I always feel like modesty politics are a way of women (or men) policing other women they deem as buying into male gaze too much. It’s a way of punishing women who are overtly sexual, or more sexual than ‘you’.

        Kind of how anyone going faster than you on the highway is a maniac, and anyone slower is a stodge. Anyone who dresses less modestly is a slut, and anyone dressing more modestly is a prude.

      • lucy2 says:

        That’s how I read it too – this is likely some;thing she’s been told her whole life, and a lot of these high level athletes live in a bit of a bubble.
        However, she was clearly wrong, and I’m glad Simone stood up and corrected her. I hope she or someone can have a real conversation (no twitter) with Gabby to help change her thinking. That’s why these discussions are so important.

        I feel so sorry for all these young gymnasts, but really am proud of their bravery in coming forward. And Aly doing so too has likely helped them as well.

      • I Choose Me says:

        Well said Otaku. Imma put my side-eye in reserve for her for now on but hopefully she learns and grows.

    • Naddie says:

      21??????? Omg, I was about to say she’s very young and all, but I imagined 16, 17 at maximum. 21 is obviously young, but it’s not like she lived in the 90s or early 2000s when comunication wasn’t in the speed of light as it is today. And what about her outfits in these pics? It’s anything but modest, as she seems to support. Hopefully she’ll learn and change her narrative. I don’t think she sould be “cancelled”, tho. She’s not a teen, but not a full grown adult either.

  5. Bex says:

    I’m a big follower of gymnastics (though I find it hard to stomach watching old meets now. USAG needs to be burned to the ground) and I think there’s always been tension in that group- the other 4 were notably silent when Gabby was getting such a hard time in 2016. I’ve always had a soft spot for her, but this was a really bad statement to make, and I hope she understands why. I feel so awful for all the girls who were abused by this monster.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      It’s a tough sport, always has been. I love it but have always watched it with mixed emotions. The commentators are also sometimes the worst. They tend to forget that these are very very young women (often girls) who push themselves to the limits. And it gets so petty. I would hesitate to let my daughter do this.

      • detritus says:

        My dad is an ex gymnast (low level), and my mom was a gymnast and coach (med level), and now a judge. She refused to let either my brother or myself go into gym past kindergym because of the culture and consistent injuries gymnasts face. It’s pretty nasty out there for them.

      • Bex says:

        The commentators are the worst. The inappropriate sexual remarks, the policing of teenage girls’ bodies and emotions, the rampant xenophobia (no, Al Trautwig, Aliya Mustafina is not a monstrous diva who needs to learn her place just because she wears eyeliner and has a Russian flag next to her name). I marvel at what these athletes can do, but what they go through to get to that point is worrisome.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        German Eurosport has (had?) one of the worst idiots. I don’t even know his name. The comments he made about the Chinese team during Beijing were horrendous. These girls liked their glitter and they liked their eye shadow. WHO CARES? They do crazy things on bars, they fly through the air and you are wondering whether their styling is tasteful enough? Even the pro commentator (a young guy) was trying to get the conversation back on track and obviously uncomfortable with the entire thing. He also didn’t love it that the girls were becoming less skinny. I was not amused.

  6. Snowflake says:

    Gabby is saying what many people think. Not right, but I see comments like that all the time. It goes back to the blaming men’s behavior on women. Well, if you hadn’t been dressed so sexy, he wouldn’t have thought it was ok to do x,y,z. Same with the biological need for men to spread their seed. That’s b.s. too. Excuses for men to do things women aren’t allowed to get away with.

    Men think it is ok to comment on a woman’s body. That aggravates me too

    • kibbles says:

      These young women are not crossing into Ariel Winter territory. I definitely think most of us have a (negative) opinion about Ariel Winter and how she chooses to express her sexuality through her (lack of) clothing. That doesn’t mean she deserves to be attacked. There is a difference between being critical of a person’s fashion choices and stating that she was attacked because of what she wears. It is a fine line, and it’s better left unsaid, especially when it’s a team member who has been victimized. Gabby is not just any person. She should have been supportive of Aly as a teammate.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        I definitely think it’s a stretch to say MOST of us share that opinion. We may not think she has great style and may comment on whether or not an outfit looks good or fug. But that’s not the same as not supporting her right to wear whatever she wants. As sex-positive, anti-victim-blaming feminists, many of us are fine with her decision to rebel against the ways society attempts to scare, threaten, bully, blackmail, and otherwise coerce women into female sexual modesty (or ‘classiness.’ I know some people prefer the modern-day secular euphemism, in order to distance themselves from the more authoritarian, violent, Abrahamic and patriarchal terms).

        “There is a difference between being critical of a person’s fashion choices and stating that she was attacked because of what she wears. It is a fine line…” You’re right. The problem is, when that criticism turns into implying that a lack of female sexual modesty = a lack of self-respect, boundaries, or morals, the critic becomes complicit in rape culture (as well as the culture of sexual bullying and other violence against women and girls), whether they truly believe sexually immodest women deserve ill treatment or not. Similar harm is done when it’s implied that an adult’s expression of sexuality should be treated as damage from sexual abuse, and that they need some sort of therapy to convert them to what’s considered ‘right’.

      • detritus says:

        With OFairy here. Some of us fight pretty darn hard against that judgement of Ariel.

      • kibbles says:

        I somewhat disagree Otaku Fairy. I believe that Winter dresses the way she does in part for attention because she notices that she gets a lot more followers on Instagram because of her provocative fashion choices. It’s the same with the Kardashians. Yes, I support their right to dress however way they want, but let’s not pretend that they choose to do so because of feminism rather than for endorsements, publicity, and more wealth in their pockets. That is part of the entertainment business run by males, which is largely successful in part due to the exploitation and sexualization of young females. And their fans are impressionable young women who think that plastic surgery among many other things in service of the male gaze is needed to be considered attractive.

      • magnoliarose says:

        Ariel Winter is a challenge in some ways because her fashion sense is not great. I don’t like her becoming outraged about the same thing over and over again, but that is more a personality issue than anything else. There is some attention seeking, but that irks me no matter what someone wears.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        Of course part of the motive behind a lot of her physical appearance choices is going to be a desire to get more publicity. She’s a celebrity. Every red carpet appearance, magazine photoshoot, or planned pap stroll is about that, whether it involves a woman dressed in a ‘classy’ way or not. But being a celebrity out to get publicity while trying on fancy clothes/costumes and being a young woman-or woman of any age- who doesn’t like society’s more conservative attitudes on these subjects anyway are hardly mutually exclusive. Kim Kardashian has pretty much said herself that her physical appearance choices aren’t really about anything political. Ariel Winter (and I don’t count her breast reduction as the same as the Kardashians’ repeated plastic surgeries) on the other hand has listed those conservative attitudes as one of the things that motivated her to start dressing the way she wants. I’m not sure what- other than respectability politics- is so alarming to people about a woman’s rejection of those attitudes being acknowledged by others as feminist. People are fine with it as long as that rejection doesn’t go from just being verbal and political, to actually showing up up in actual choices women start allowing themselves to make, probably.
        Sexual exploitation definitely exists in the entertainment industry and elsewhere, and has always been a problem in this country. It’s a problem everywhere. But that’s as separate from a woman choosing not to dress modestly as rape is from a woman choosing to have sex outside of marriage.

    • zeynep says:

      Agree. There is such a lot of this debate going on here in Turkey as well at the moment, it’s so depressing. Woman walking alone? Asking for it. Talking back to a man? Asking for it. Wearing jeans? Asking for it. Unmarried? Asking for it. Married? Ditto. Laughing too loudly? Smiling too broadly? Expressing opinions too frequently? Same, same, same.

      It’s so depressing, especially as the govt is pretty much pushing modesty as women’s first line of defense and wearing hijabs, something not widespread here, and dressing very conservatively is being promoted as our best way to avoid so-called “uncomfortable situations”. These ‘modesty solves assault’ attitudes are, unfortunately, held worldwide.

      This is an interesting article about the push for modesty and being solemn as a defense against assault in Turkey –
      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/02/turkey-women-absurd-debate-female-laughter-new-deal

  7. Nanny to the Rescue says:

    I canceled her.

    She might be young, but she’s in her 20s, not 14 y.o. If I’m not letting Bialik pass, I can’t let this one go either. The debate about predators and how women dress has been addressed several times this year alone. Women like her CHOOSE not to listen.

    • kibbles says:

      Bialik is twenty years older than Gabby though. And Bialik wants to act as if she is super intelligent, worthy of writing for the NYT and advising people on how to raise their children. I don’t really like Gabby all that much, but I’m not going to compare her to Bialik, who is twice as old and should have the education and wisdom to know better on what is acceptable to say and write about sexual abuse. I agree that Gabby isn’t a child and should be held accountable for her statements, but 21 is still very young. I think she will likely learn her lesson and at least not express opinions like this publicly anymore.

    • Odette says:

      I, too, have a hard time not “cancelling” her for this statement. If she had made a better apology, then yes. But I don’t get the impression that she learned a lesson.

      (I’m shocked that the “modesty” argument still gets any airtime whatsoever.)

    • Jennie Hix says:

      I was done with her after her little stunt she pulled during the anthem in 2016. It was obvious to me she wanted to pull focus from her teammates, just like she did with this latest Tweet. Sorry, but I really don’t like her after this.

      https://cbs987ampradio.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/gettyimages-587768194.jpg

  8. adastraperaspera says:

    Something is wrong with the system when a predator like Nassar can get away with hurting so many girls and young women. It makes me so angry to know there had to be people in co-leadership positions who looked the other way. I think they should also be prosecuted!

  9. Eliza says:

    The doctors abuse has nothing to do with Aly or any of these gymnasts modesty. He performed unnecissary, glove-less!, unsupervised by female staff internal exams of teenage girls. This was abuse of his power and clear assault!

    Now if I’m wearing something sexy do i get more unwanted attention, maybe sometimes. If Im in my normal modest clothing, do i never get harassed? Hahahaha no! It still happens. There is no way to stop harassment except to teach people not do it. Girls shouldn’t be responsible for their attackers behaviors. Just like gunshot victims arent blamed for their attackers behavior.

  10. Thebees says:

    Yeah because women fully covered from head to toe, grannies in long floral skirts, and baby girls in onesies or Dora the Explorer clothes are just never violated or raped……..

    I’m hoping that this is just Gabby having a young and dumb moment. Rape is not about clothing choices, it’s about power, evil, and sickness .

  11. lisa says:

    even if you are a backwards jerk, all gymnasts are wearing the exact same tiny thing so i dont know what she is talking about at all

    simone saying she isn’t surprised is my new “i dont know her”

  12. Jayna says:

    Meh. She told us just how she felt and who she is. She didn’t just tweet that about random unwanted sex abuse. She tweeted in response to her teammate’s tweet. What went on is despicable. These were kids he targeted from 12 up as he started grooming them and molesting them under the guise of “treatment.”. And the organization did not stand behind these girls. For Gabby to respond to her teammate’s tweet with that comment, ugh. These were young, impressionable athletes training for world events and under a lot of pressure and influence by their elders at a young age.

  13. Katherine says:

    It’s an attempt to feel in control – when you think you *know* how to avoid a bad situation that statistically is highly probable you acquire a false sense of security

  14. HK9 says:

    The lack of empathy and compassion for other’s here is staggering. Her being young is no excuse. Here’s another example of talent not being enough to make a person a whole healthy intelligent human being. Until she starts doing her routine in maxi dresses she better give her head a shake.

  15. Squiggisbig says:

    I say cancel her. Her comment doesn’t even make sense because gymnast uniforms are basically a bathing suit! So Stupid. Glad Simone snatched her by her edges and much love to Aly for having the strength to tell her story.

  16. abby says:

    I was angry for about 5 min and then I just ran out of rage. I cannot keep up that negative energy,

    Thing is this kind of thinking is so prevalent. We’ve seen many high-profile men and women, educated and less so, policy-makers and community leaders espouse the same ideas. I am not surprise that Gabby thinks that way too. Disappointed but not surprised.

    It just reminds me of the work needed to be done about rape-culture and how we think about victims of sexual assault (and domestic violence) in general. From Weinstein to all the other assailants, society tends to look for what the victim could have done to prevent/stop the attack when really the sole blame/responsibility should be laid at the feet of the perpetrator.
    Changing that attitude won’t be helped by attacking people like Gabby. I mean rage is good but sometimes I think people issue apologies simply to escape the immediate controversy but they really haven’t changed their thinking. Sadly, I think that’s the case with Gabby. That she apologized for damage control rather than any real sincerity.
    Granted, if said entirely in ignorance it could be a teachable moment but the person needs to be open to learning and being attacked makes that less likely.
    *Sigh* I’m just done.

  17. AnnaKist says:

    Well, I have some news for you, Ms Douglas, deletion and “apology” notwithstanding.

    I have always “dressed modestly”, firstly, as a small child when my mother or older sister dressed me, later, when I dressed myself and, oh, ever since. I believe my own choices had something to do with the old man next door attempting to molest me when I was about 5, when my father had sent me to give his wife some eggs. She was in the kitchen when he took my knickers down and got ready to… My father thought I was taking too long, and walked through their open front door and was met with that scene. Thank god for dads who listen to their gut feelings, hey. Yeah, I continued dressing modestly, but that didn’t stop countless filthy mongrels abusing me as a child. So, yeah, best you keep your gob shut, Gabby, since what comes out is a lot of bilge.

  18. Feedmechips says:

    First she doubled down on her statement and said she was “misunderstood.” Then she put out the nice PR response about how she didn’t word herself correctly. These are not the hallmarks of a legitimate apology.

  19. ell says:

    it’s upsetting, but so many women have bought into this patriarchal society and need to educate themselves. i don’t we should cancel them, i think we should give them the chance to improve themselves (then if they continue in their ignorance, by all means, f- them).

  20. JRenee says:

    Disappointing.
    I would hope after all she has endured, she would be empathetic at a minimum. I truly hope she grows from this.

  21. littlemissnaughty says:

    Well, guess my comment got eaten or was deleted. I can’t jump on the “cancel her” bandwaggon. We didn’t cancel Serena when she made her problematic comments. Because it’s uncool to not like her? She got a second chance, so I’ll give Gabby one too. I hope Gabby learns but I also hope that despite the avalanche of horror we’ve been buried under for months now, we can keep our perspective. SHE is not the problem.

    • Nicole (the Cdn One) says:

      *tentatively raises hand so as not to get pummelled*

      I actually did cancel Serena. I get internalizing misogyny and I don’t cancel people for an initial problematic statement, but if you don’t learn from the statement and correct it with as much publicity as your initial statement, then I cancel you. Serena never owned or corrected her Steubenville statements – she pulled the “I was misquoted” when in fact the interview was on tape and was “reaching out” to the survivor’s family. No, how about you denounce rape culture loudly after you reinforced it with a voice that a lot of people listen to. So, yes, I cancelled her. She’s a great athlete but I cancelled her.

      For Gabby, her initial response is not good, but let’s see what she does from here. There is a concerning lack of empathy and in her comments (and actually, hypocrisy since she isn’t exactly dressing “modestly” in those photos) and a lack of personal responsibility in her response, so if that’s all she does, then yes, she’s cancelled. If she uses her voice to advocate against rape culture , then I’m good with her. Redemption must be earned.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        I always have a hard time with athletes or celebrities making ONE problematic or offensive comment and being cancelled right away. It depends on the type of comment and how they deal with backlash. I also do look at their age. Serena made those statements when she was a grown woman and had been in the spotlight for a long time. Gabby is young and while successful, hasn’t had nearly as much time to become a fully formed adult. That’s college age. We need to give her a chance.

        If celebs continue to dig a hole for themselves (Kate Winslet, Susan Sarandon, countless men), I’m over it.

      • MoochieLady says:

        I’m sorry your comment got nuked. Why does that happen? I’m positive you weren’t breaking any rules?

      • Abby says:

        I also canceled Serena for a few years after those comments. Well, i guess i put her on pause. I just couldn’t watch her matches or anything.
        But after a while i started noticing so many similar comments from high-profile individuals. Whoopie and her rape-rape comments, so many men and womem in politics, it was like rape was a trendy topic for some reason. Everyone had a controversial opinion. And then i started to see how pervasive that thinking was in my own community and as much as i hate to say it but certain religions/denominations appear to reinforce such thinking.
        Anyway, i started to see people with that thinking as unwittingly complicit in maintaining the status quo. Maybe they aren’t so unwitting. But it’s been drilled in their heads from childhood. Good girls don’t do this, good girls don’t do that. Don’t dress like a loose woman, etc. That thinking is hard to break. And it’s likely reinforced within her circle.
        IMO we need to enlighten each other but obviously that cannot be forced. All must be open to the exchange of ideas.

        Since then I took Serena off pause but i hope she has been enlightened. But i am side-eyeing her.
        For me Gabby will be treated the same. I’ll take a break in suport but she can have a second chance eventually.

  22. Gisele DeCorvin-McGraw says:

    Context people, context really matters!!! Why because it gives us the ability to connect with and understand people who have different opinions and whose different political and religious views shape their world view. This is of tantamount importance if we want to preserve freedom of speech, democratic values and pluralism. I do not in anyway agree with or condone the words of Gabby or Mayim Bialik when they were commenting on women being sexually assaulted by predatory males. However it is must be emphasized that both women come from very conservative religious backgrounds and they not only assiduously practice Conservative Christianity (Gabby) and Orthodox Judaism (Mayim) but it shapes everything about them–when they speak of the modesty they are expressing their views and trying to give women a way to protect and empower themselves from a foundation that is inherently shaped from their religious views. I have heard Mormon and Muslim women saying much the same thing as I have lived in several countries and all across America, and I have lived among women who feel this way. Timing is everything and perhaps there is a different forum and time for those views to be expressed. I believe both Douglas and Bialik are trying in their own ways to be protective of women within the context of their religious beliefs. You can call it misguided but it does not come from malice or self-righteous judgement–it comes from love and respect as it is defined by their respective religions and worldviews. If you can’t allow for this then you are no better than the people from the far right who want a one-party system and denigrate anyone else’s viewpoint–the very people who call Democrats libtards and blame everything on Obama. Surely we can do better than that!

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      As I said above, I’m not “cancelling” her because of it.

      But those views have nothing to do with my own world view. They are detrimental to women and have been for centuries. Just because women all over the world have bought into these ideas and spread them out of love (I say they spread judgment but that’s just me) does not mean I have to accept ANY of them. I don’t. I can’t. Imagine a rape victim/survivor reading this. That person does not care whether or not religion shaped these women’s world view. The women you mention are judging their fellow women so we’re judging back. It doesn’t have to be an ugly discussion but I don’t have to respect their judgment either.

    • HK9 says:

      The philosophical elephant in the room is that women from conservative backgrounds know that this line of thinking doesn’t protect them. They KNOW it’s a lie. I come from a conservative religious background and sexual abuse is rampant. They say it because they’ve been conditioned to not because it’s true. They are not dealing with the dissonance between what people should be doing according to the tenants of their faith and what actually happens in their houses of worship. I grew up in the evangelical church and I will call her out all day every day. The concept of ‘modesty’ has been used against women to let men get away with what is a sin. It’s a sin against humanity and against God. That has nothing to do with conservative religious context, it has to do with abuse of power and patriarchy.

    • Nicole (the Cdn One) says:

      We do better by calling them out on their hypocrisy and pointing out that what they are saying is both false (dressing modestly does not protect anyone from anything) and destructive. If they cannot internalize this and not perpetuate thinking that endangers women, then we don’t owe them anything.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      There always has to be at least one lady more worried that criticism of misogyny violates someone’s first amendment rights (hint: It doesn’t) than she is about the misogyny and victim-blaming.
      I get that you want to give Mayim Bialik and Gaby Douglas the benefit of the doubt. Even if you believe that their intent is 100% altruism and protectiveness toward women and 0% malice, insecurity, cattiness, or patriarchal brainwashing, (even though there’s evidence that that’s not the case with either of them), that doesn’t erase the fact that the impact of their message is dangerous and harmful for both sexes. It’s even dangerous for them individually. The fact that a statement like this from a public figure gets criticized is progress. Religion is not a shield.
      Think of it this way: There are people who have told men and boys to make sure the way they dress and present themselves is masculine enough to ward off homophobes. Gay and bisexual people of both sexes have been told to ‘be careful’ about things like clothing choice, same-sex romances/flings, and coming out of the closet, in order to avoid abuse, discrimination, or disrespect from homophobes. Many of the people who give this advice are religious. Sometimes there’s good intent there, other times (I’d say most of the time) it’s not. Even if it is, it’s still another example of straight people being taught that it’s natural and understandable for them as straights to treat others a certain way based on how they express gender and sexuality. The take-away is still that certain people should expect disrespect and abuse. It’s still inequality.

      • I Choose Me says:

        Thank you Otaku Fairy for your insightful remarks up and down this thread. Gaby is a public figure and the sentiment she espouses is dangerous. People have every right to haul her onto the carpet for it. Like I said upthread, I hope this a teachable moment for her but I can’t and I won’t support or excuse anyone who contributes to rape culture with this line of thinking.

  23. Veronica says:

    The one-strike policy of the Internet exhausts me, to be honest. Social justice is pointless if we don’t allow for people to learn from their mistakes. It’s one thing if they’re persistently unrepentant, but we all grow up in the toxic mire of patriarchal and supremacist cultures. It can take time to undo that kind of internalized racism and misogyny, especially when we’re raised to believe things like “modesty” will protect us from harm. That’s a hard lesson to undo when it means facing the reality that nothing can protect us from potential predators, even if it’s necessary to undo the root of that evil. She needs to be called out and taken to task for it, but I don’t believe in cancelling people permanently if they learn from it and try to do better. I want her to learn how to apologize correctly. I want her to realize why she’s wrong, and why it harms her as much as everyone else to believe those things. I want her to grow.

  24. KBeth says:

    I’m generally all for giving celebrities a pass when they stick their foot in their mouth (can’t imagine having every single thing I️ say/do scrutinized) but Gabby’s response is particularly disgusting & ignorant.

  25. dumbledork says:

    We cancel the Duggars based on their religious views, so this should be no different. Can’t make excuses for one and defend another. She responded with her tone deaf statement to her teammate. Directly to her teammate. One who just rehashed a very painful and disturbing personal story. Can’t be more of an a’hole than that.

  26. Wickster says:

    Why would anyone give her a pass based on her background or anything else?I am disgusted by her. Her comments weren’t worded wrong, she meant exactly what she said, she just didn’t expect the blowback. She’ll continue to hold the same views in private, I am sure. And the context is confusing anyway. To express this stupid opinion where her teammates were little girls told to take off their uniforms and then molested by a doctor under the guise of treatment is disgusting. No pass, nothing. No pass. This kind of comment can do irreparable damage. She needs to go away. And the excuse about her background is pathetic. I was a feminist in a conservative Republican family when I was 12. I understood early on what discrimination was and I expect most kids early on understand at the same age. They just make a choice on what to continue to believe. She has been all over the world, exposed to many types of cultures and beliefs. She is expressing what she believes and only walking back because of backlash. She is only apologizing for how she worded herself. I don’t get how she really has changed her belief that women should dress modestly to avoid abuse. Therefore, cancelled.

  27. MrsBump says:

    Sorry but no pass. I’ve heard this bullshit excuse over and over growing in my conservative third world country. Women are as guilty as men in perpetrating this notion. Men do it to justify their actions and absolve themselves of any responsibility or self control. Women do it to reassure themselves that as long as they toe the line, nothing like this will happen to them.
    I was wearing long, well past the knee length skirt as a teenager and still i was molested. I dont care if she’s been a victim of racism, many of us have, i dont care if she’s been brought up in a conservative household, so have I, and i dont care if she’s 20, it’s old enough to know better. Her comments coming are a disgrace and her excuses ring shallow.

  28. If modest dressing is a sex crime deterrent, then please explain to me why fully habited nuns are assaulted? Why elderly women are assaulted? Why little girls in school uniforms are assaulted? Because it has NOTHING to do with sex or modesty and everything to do with power and control.

  29. Jag says:

    Gabby has said many wrong things, hasn’t she? I just know that I don’t like her from what I’ve read before, but can’t say a specific other than this time.

    Yes, she should be canceled. I think that she was saying what she meant, and she was victim blaming.

    Perhaps she should look at the art installment where the outfits that rape victims were wearing – fascimiles – were displayed, along with accounts of what happened. There were everything from nightgowns to short dresses, to sweat pants and jeans. From men and women who were exercising, partying, drunk, sober, and asleep. From people who were assaulted by strangers, lovers, family members, and friends. That would give her a learning experience. It is never the victim’s fault.

    • Curious says:

      She is a christian and identifies as christian. See her wikipedia page. Some types of christianity and especially the older types tend(ed) to blame women for everything. See catholicism.

      I couldn’t find anything about her education on her wiki page. ???

      • Ksenia says:

        paranormalgirl: It would be interesting to see if more rapes, harassment, and sexual assaults happen in the summer—when women tend to need to be more lightly, even scantily dressed–than in the winter, when most of us are covered up in heavier, less revealing clothes for warmth. Personally speaking, I was raped in February (years ago) on a very cold day which I was dressed for. My “date” didn’t care at all how completely non-sexily I was dressed: my outer garments had nothing to with what he wanted, which was to hurt and control and violate me. Also, it has not seemed to matter much how I’m dressed, for which season, in terms of the numbers of catcalls, come ons, and other sexual harassment I get. I DO notice that when I’m in something scanty, I tend to get a little more unwanted male attention, but the concept that there is any protection (both physical and “moral”) from actually getting raped by dressing modestly is misogynistic and inaccurate: its only aim is to further victimize the victim.

  30. JA says:

    Cancelled! Im a hell of alot older than Gaby but was I was in my teens way back when, I knew that was some victim blaming bullsh*t. If you’re 22 & think like that still God help you because it’s gonna be a rough shock.

  31. Littlestar says:

    If dressing modestly ever actually protected anyone rape would hardly exist because we’d all have a fail proof system to turn to, but a lack modesty has never been the issue; it has and always will be perpetuated by the violence of perpetrators. Women in burkas get assaulted, babies and children, men, the elderly, the wealthy, the poor….it has NEVER been about the victim being too sexually provocative for the perpetrator to control themselves. Yes, beautiful women can be victims too and IT’S STILL NOT THEIR FAULT. “R*pe predates the mini skirt”

  32. Ozogirl says:

    Someone needs to make Gabby aware that women who are fully clothed get raped as well. It’s not about clothing.

  33. Curious says:

    Douglas is a Christian; she said, “I believe in God. He is the secret of my success. He gives people talent”,[18] and “… I love sharing about my faith. God has given me this amazing God-given talent, so I’m going to go out and glorify His name.”[19] Douglas has also stated in her biography that in the past her “family practiced some of the Jewish traditions”, including attending a Conservative Jewish synagogue, keeping kosher, and celebrating Chanukah.[20][21]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabby_Douglas

    You could speculate if Douglas’ suggestion for dressing modestly has something to do with her christian faith. Christians used to put all responsibility for men’s sexual behaviour on women.

    • K says:

      Yeah, I agree. This is the fundamentalist mindset in a nutshell: sisters must not tempt their brothers into sin. It’s misogynist BS, but it is sadly internalised by many, many women.

      Ironically it has such contempt for men, that mindset. It treats them as animals without intelligence, agency or dignity – as a bunch of potential rapists, all ready to be triggered by a glimpse of cleavage. And they say we feminists are man haters.

  34. Adele Dazeem says:

    In a tangential note, just last night I read an article in the NYT (online) about the rise of conservative dressing and how it is the new thing w designers. (not a fashion girl at all for the record, but a voracious reader).

    Trends come and go, and while a baggier silhouette has been the thing for a while, I wonder how far this will go. The pics showed styles modeled after Islamic women’s wear in the 1900s. There was mention of this being a broader implication of our current environment (aka Trump, Weinstein, etc). Not so much in the vein of “I need to cover up, I might get weinsteined” but more in a “I’m tired of dressing for men, I’m dressing for comfort and me.” Menocore!
    Thought provoking.

  35. lexie says:

    If Gabby Douglas was a white girl who made that statement, this website would be calling for her “cancelation”. You would be ripping her apart for not understanding feminism, for victim blaming, etc. But because she’s a WOC, its a “teachable moment” or a “learning experience’.
    PUHLEASE.
    this girl is awful. everyone who stood up for her when this world was cruel to her.. no appreciation. She can go.

  36. Confused4Ever says:

    I honestly think a breathalyzer should be a requirement before people post…UGH.

  37. Puff says:

    It’s funny how you all lash out at white female celebrities, but when it’s an American female it must be her upbringing or outside influences. This site has become really depressing as soon as you get to the comments section and read the one sided views. I used to enjoy lurking on all the old comments when gnat and them used to post.