Viral Gymnast Katelyn Ohashi Stands Up to Body Shaming in the Best Way
You probably recognize 21 year old Katelyn Ohashi for her stunning gymnastics routine that went viral last week.
Her poise, her strength, the pure joy she absolutely exudes with every move, had everyone from littles to grandmas sharing her video with no other caption needed than, “Flawless.”
In case you missed it, you can see it right here:
See what I mean? Flawless.
So when I saw that Ohashi was going to be interviewed by Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, I couldn’t wait to tune in to learn a little bit more about this fabulous athlete, both as a Facebook user who saw Ohashi’s video pass by in my feed all week long and as a mom who wants to show my children what strong women are capable of accomplishing.
What I saw when I tuned in, though, was something else entirely.
Ohashi and her coach did talk about the hard work and perseverance it takes to be on a national team at the age of 12; leave the limelight of the sport; and then debut back (on the UCLA gymnastics team) with such a big splash.
But that topic, was just the tip of the iceberg.
What Ohashi did delve into — perfectly — was her fight against body shamers. She said:
“I was body shamed a lot. At the gym. In the gym. On social media. You can’t get away from that.”
A quick Google search for “body shaming” yields 20,500,000 results, surprising exactly no one.
Actresses including Kelly Ripa, Gal Gadot, and Kelly Clarkson have all told their body shaming stories.
But to hear a young athlete discuss her own experience with body shamers is truly a reminder that while we’ve come far, there’s still so much work to do.
And what I loved best about Ohashi’s take on this topic is that she modeled doing this work in its simplest and most doable form.
This is what you can do to fight body shaming today:
- Tell your stories.
- Listen to and share other’s stories.
- Call out body shaming when you see it and hear it in person and online.
Ohashi elevated that very first step by telling her story via a beautifully written and empowering poem on GMA.
Her words are below.
Read them and share them with the people you love.
Our youngest of girls deserve to see Ohashi’s flawless performance and words in the name of a strong woman inspiring a new generation of strong girls who have exactly no time for body shamers.
They’re too busy slaying.
Self Hatred Good Byes
By viral gymnast Katelyn Ohashi
I’ve been consumed with the thought that bigger is synonymous to less than,
That only those people with the perfect bodies have the right to stand.
But here today, I stand.
With a love that penetrates deeper than any wedding band.
Because I am my own size.
And no words or judgemental stares will make me compromise.
For the bittersweet satisfaction that lays within my eyes and my thighs,
I finally got my cake, and ate it, too.
For my own self pride
And today, my self hatred says its good byes.