No doubt Rio 2016 has been the event of the year. There have been many comments and critics against the host country, the Olympic Committees, the judges and the athletes. It´s very interesting to see how Rio has prompted the ‘expert’ side of many amateurs that cynically give their opinion in regards of sports techniques, emotional intelligence, resiliency, politics and even fashion.
Sadly, in Mexico and many other countries criticisms and bullying is a very common practice among mediocre citizens. It’s like an intentional way to put the reflectors on the imperfections of others. It’s like a defense mechanism to avoid being questioned for one’s lack of coherence and point out others. Anyways, the purpose of this reflection is beyond analyzing the psyche of the average Mexican because bullying occurs not only in Mexico but everywhere. Bullying is such a psychological condition of mediocre citizens that live even in developed countries. For instance, during this Olympic games, athletes like Gabby Douglas, gold medalist in gymnastics, was bullied and criticized because of her hair style. Alexa Moreno, a Mexican gymnast also was victim of nasty and hurting comments in regards of her physical appearance. Cheerlessly, in both cases those critics came from their own compatriots. Most likely those ‘experts in fashion cannot jump 50 cm above the ground, but obviously they have a clinical eye that can detect such flaws that have nothing to do with the athletes’ performance.
After this short introduction to set the context of my reflection I want to highlight the fact that what Alexa and Gabby have suffered is the same type of bullying that many other girls are continuously suffering. The society in which we are currently living has rooted its core values in consumerism, hedonism and perfectionism, and thus it has dictated some beauty and aesthetic canons that girls have to stick to if they want to be considered beautiful and worthy. However, this type ‘beauty’ (yes! beauty between quotation marks! ), is nothing more than a group of norms that somehow look for harmony and aesthetics but has nothing to do with real beauty. Real beauty has nothing to do with the current beauty prototype that is rooted in lies, seduction and lack of authenticity. Both athletes competed with dignity and showed their talents, grace, elegance and the perfection of feminine movements. Despite of the results, the medals and the rank of both of them; the reality is that these two girls are talented, skilled, they competed with courage and shared with us the beauty and strength of the body movement. Real beauty is a projection of oneself, beauty is who you are not what you have (a silky and smooth hair or a skinny and long body). Therefore, the beauty of Alexa and Gabby comes from who they are, and not what they have. Both are women, gymnasts that competed with strength, elegance, feminity, they shared with the world their talent and their being. My deepest gratitude to Alexa and Gabby for teaching us a valuable lesson of real beauty, thanks for sharing with us through gymnastics who you are, and thanks for shinning a real beauty that goes beyond fashion and stereotypes.
Finally, I want to conclude my reflection with a quote from Thérèse of Liseux that can be applied to those unfortunate events: ‘If all the little flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime garb, and the field would no longer be decked with wild flowers’ Both, Gabby and Alexa are beautiful flowers, perhaps they are not roses, but they don´t have to be roses because with their essence, charm and garb they adorn this world.