Stop Criticising Dafne Schippers – Women Are Allowed To Show Their Frustration Too

Who is Dafne Schippers? Dafne Schippers is a Dutch athlete and one of the fastest women in the world at the moment. While she easily won the semi-finale of the 100 meter sprint, she didn’t win any medals when it came to the finale. Naturally she was disappointed, but she was determined to win gold at the 200 meter finale. Now Dafne won silver, which of course is great and she is happy with it now, but after the race was over she was disappointed and not afraid to show it. In a moment of frustration she threw away her sneakers, and really, it was no big deal. She’s human, she had worked hard towards her goal, and she didn’t make it. How many times have we seen athletes winning silver, but not being entirely happy with it because they were going for gold? After the race she said in an interview that she ‘couldn’t enjoy it’ (winning silver she meant). This and her throwing her sneakers away has led to some criticism. 

They talked about her in a Dutch tv programme (not even about sport. It’s an entertainment/gossip programme)and  except for the invited guest (Fatima Morero, who is an athlete herself) they all criticised Dafne’s behaviour. It was an entire frickin’ debate, but like Morero said ‘sports is emotion’. Why can’t she throw away her sneakers, show that she’s upset? It’s ‘not professional’? One of the men (Morero was the only woman) said that everyone ‘will remember her this way’. She’s one of the fastest women in the world, the World Champion of 2015, won silver at the 200 meters, but everyone will remember her because she threw away her sneakers? Well, maybe if people make such a big deal out of it, but that’s not because of her but people like him.

On Twitter people criticised her for saying that she ‘couldn’t enjoy it’. They called her a sore loser and that she had to ‘work on her mentality’. She was in it to win it, that’s her mentality. That’s the mentality of a lot of athletes, isn’t it? Like Morero said on the programme, when she and her hockey team lost a hockey finale, meaning they had won silver, they were all in tears. I’ve seen so many athletes on tv crying and being upset over losing gold, even if it means winning silver instead. Why is it such a big deal? Dafne Schippers is only human, why does she have to put up a facade? Why can’t she show emotion? 

The thing that is annoying me the most, is that I have the feeling that if she had been a man or if any other male athlete had thrown his sneakers in frustration, no one would have batted an eye. Because men are allowed to show their anger, if women show it they are hysterical. It reminded me of this quote from Cat Grant from Supergirl:

Whatever you do, you cannot get angry at work. Especially when you’re a girl. When I was working at The Daily Planet, Perry White picked up a chair and threw it out the window… because somebody missed a deadline, and no, he did not open the window first. If I had thrown a chair—or, my God, if I had thrown a napkin—it would’ve been all over the papers. It would’ve been professional and cultural suicide.

It’s like  a man is ‘a tough boss’, but a woman acting the same way, would be a ‘bitch’. Because women can’t show anger. Women are supposed to be delicate little flowers, always smiling and always polite. Otherwise we’re hysterical and bitches. No. We are allowed to show our anger, frustration and disappointment just as much as men. She threw her sneakers on the ground. Not in someone’s face. She didn’t punch someone. She just showed a little bit of frustration, but that was enough for people to criticise her and her mentality.

SIDENOTE: One of the arguments I used ‘she’s human’ was also used last week when a Dutch male athlete was send home for violating the contract he had signed with the Dutch national olympic committee. The contract said that he had to ‘behave’ himself, but instead he went out, drank alcohol and came back loudly in the early morning. Then he overslept and missed a training. The committee sent him home for violating the rules and because his coach requested it, since this wasn’t the first time. They were just fed up with him. A lot of people took his side and said that ‘he’s only human’. But apparently Dafne isn’t human, but a robot only good for getting us some medals and honour who isn’t allowed to show her disappointment.

Michelle is an 19-year old book and writing blogger who blogs at The Writing Hufflepuff, where she also talks about personal things and other interests. You can also tweet her at @writingbadger.

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