Gabby Douglas: Lighter Skin-Bleaching Buzz Joins Hand-On-Heart Controversy

Gabby Douglas is winning praise for the majestic manner in which she stuck her landing — as reported by the New York Times. Douglas is also being praised for the way she supported her teammates and spurred them forward with positive words. But social media wouldn’t be social media if folks didn’t use it to share the things they were actually thinking — whether from a mean-spirited point of view or simply out of pure curiosity.

First off, Twitter reported that news about Gabby not putting her hand over her heart helped photos of Douglas like the below one go viral. Whereas some people are arguing that it is not a mandatory thing to place one’s hand over one’s heart during the National Anthem, others argue that it is a sign of respect. However, the hand-over-the-heart — or lack thereof — controversy as it relates to Gabby pales in comparison to a renewed debate over hair styles and skin color issues as it relates to Douglas.

However, it was a more subtle change in Gabby’s appearance that caught the eyes of other intrepid Douglas fans — and sent viewers to social media to share their thoughts. A search for posts about Gabby’s skin color turns up Twitter tweets and Facebook posts from people who are honestly wondering aloud if Douglas appears lighter than she did in years past.

As seen in the below photo, Gabby can be seen with Shawn Johnson in a photo from five years ago. The photo of Douglas and Johnson was taken in Chicago on Friday, July 22, 2011, as the duo waited for their turn to work out during a CoverGirl event.

Gabby Douglas

As is commonly known among African-Americans — or those who photograph African-Americans — lighting is everything in terms of how skin color can be viewed. Whereas some photos may show Gabby appearing darker from years past, other photos show Douglas in brighter lights.

gabby skin

Gabby can also be seen in the above photo in Chicago from Friday, May 25, 2012.

However, the buzz about Gabby’s skin color continued — especially when Douglas appeared in photos like the following, which announced Gabby’s Barbie doll. Those photos showed Douglas appearing a lot lighter than previous photos, a fact that could be chalked up to lighter shades of foundation.

As seen in the top photo above, Gabby and Aly Raisman took a celebratory selfie in the wake of the U.S. team winning gold for the artistic gymnastics women’s team on Tuesday.

On that same day at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Tuesday, August 9, Gabby’s skin color prompted some of the below comments from social media users. They are ones who questioned if Gabby had done anything to purposely lighten her skin. Of all the articles describing Douglas and her beauty routines, as reported by Yahoo, there haven’t been any articles that have surfaced about Gabby taking any supplements that might lighten her skin over time, such as MSM, as reported by the Inquisitr.

“Douglas looks like her skin is getting lighter.”

“Gabby bleached her skin.”

“Douglas look like she been bleaching her skin.”

“Gabby Douglas has perfect skin. I would be sweating so much

“Why is Gabby Douglas several shades lighter than she was 4 years ago?”

“Is it just me or does Gabby look a lot lighter to y’all?”

“Just me or does Gabby Douglas look … lighter?

“Does anyone else notice that Gabby is so much lighter than what she was before?”

“Does Gabby look a tad bit lighter to anyone else?”

“I’on know if its it me or my phone but Gabby Douglas looks a couple shades lighter. No?”

[Photo by Julio Cortez/AP Images]