Simone Biles Shares Why She's "Done Competing" with Other People's Beauty Standards
The queen of gymnastics shared her powerful message as part of skin-care brand, SK-II's #nocompetition campaign.
Celebs and influencers like Cassey Ho, Tess Holiday and Iskra Lawrence have long been calling out the BS behind today's beauty standards. Now, four-time Olympic gold medal winner, Simone Biles is doing the same. The queen of gymnastics took to Instagram to share how she's been affected by body-shaming and trolling, and why this kind of behavior has to stop.
"Let’s talk about competition," she shared. "Specifically the competition I didn’t sign up for and feel like has become almost a daily challenge for me. And I don’t think I’m the only one."
"In gymnastics, as in many other professions, there is a growing competition that has nothing to do with performance itself. I’m talking about beauty," continued Biles.
Continuing her post, Biles shared why today's unattainable standards of beauty are so problematic and how she's dealt with blatant body-shaming comments over the course of her career. (Related: Student Takes On Her University In Powerful Essay About Body-Shaming)
"I don’t know why others feel as though they can define your own beauty based on their standards," she wrote. "I’ve learned to put on a strong front and let most of it slide. But I’d be lying if I told you that what people say about my arms, my legs, my body…of how I look in a dress, leotard, bathing suit or even casual pants hasn’t gotten me down sometimes."
While Biles didn't give specifics about these body-shaming comments, it's possible she's alluding to the time she fired back at a troll who called her "ugly" in 2016. "You all can judge my body all you want, but at the end of the day it's MY body," she wrote, defending herself on Twitter at the time. "I love it and I'm comfortable in my skin."
In another incident, shortly after the 2016 Rio Olympics, Biles and her teammates, Aly Raisman and Madison Kocian were all body-shamed by trolls after Biles posted a photo of the trio in their bikinis. Since then, Raisman has become a passionate advocate for body positivity, sharing stories about being mocked for her muscles while growing up and joining forces with progressive brands like Aerie.
While Biles clearly knows how to shut down body-shaming trolls, she still recognizes the need to change the way people judge and comment on others' bodies—not to mention the misguided notion that others are even entitled to comment on someone else's body in the first place, she wrote on Instagram this week. "As I think about it, I don’t have to look very far to see how common this judgment has become," she shared. (Related: Why Body-Shaming Is Such a Big Problem and What You Can Do to Stop It)
In a world where it's so easy to feel as though you're defined by what others think, Biles reminded her fans that the only opinion that truly matters is yours. (Related: Women Around the World Photoshop Their Ideal Body Image)
"I’m tired of everything in life being turned into a competition, so I am standing up for myself and for everyone else that has gone through the same," she wrote, concluding her post." "Today, I say I am done competing [with] beauty standards and the toxic culture of trolling when others feel as though their expectations are not met. Because nobody should tell you or [me] what beauty should or should not look like."