Olympic Fashion Blog

Olympic fashion blog
By Ruth Nemzoff, Ph.D., Author of Don't Bite Your Tongue and Don't Roll Your Eyes and Ellen Offner, Principal, Offner Consulting, LLC, Health Care Strategy and Program Development

A picture is worth more than a thousand words. And what a picture the Olympics provided of the diversity of human beauty! A panoply of ethnicity, race, gender, but not age. Let's not quibble though, The Olympics were meant to be a celebration of youth, not of aging. Why denigrate it for not doing everything, when it has done so much? The Olympics have extended the notion of athletic prowess from the original Greek homage to male youth to include women. Fifty years ago few believed women had the capacity to excel at sports.Theories abounded on the dangers to our reproductive organs from too much motion (remember half-court basketball for women, too much exertion to run back and forth on the full playing field?). Football took most of the athletic budget and women's sports raised money from bake sales. We have indeed come a long way not just nationally but internationally. Even women from countries with the most restrictive dress codes and gender segregation were at the games.

How exciting and inspiring to see Olympic Silver medalist Nia Ali holding her 15 month old toddler!

We can reproduce and run, jump and tumble!!!

The gifted and eloquent American fencer, an African-American Muslim Ibtihaj Muhammad, from New Jersey, has impressed the world with her poise, beauty, skill, and yes, modest attire She left the Rio Olympics with a bronze sabre team medal Beautiful in her hijab. "As a global community, we have to work harder to change our current situation. It is an unhealthy one." We can accommodate many definitions of modesty AND be active.

At the Olympics we saw a range -- of hair texture and a rainbow color. Chemically produced and natural blonde stood on the winners' podium next to black, brown, curly, straight -- even red dreadlocks. It turns out blondes don't have more fun. As for hairdos, basic was the mode. Ponytails, pullbacks, or short, no fuss no muss styles crowned these super athletes. All business no time for flounce. Despite the utilitarian do's, many of the women at the Olympics looked absolutely beautiful.The Olympics were a startling display of the diversity of human beauty and of the many ways we can use our bodies. Whether you approve of it or not, the fact that so many female Olympians model is a sign of a more expansive view of female beauty; the anorexic Twiggy is no longer the only ideal. Neither our bodies nor ourselves need to be confined. We have multiple roles and multiple ways to shine.

Watching the Olympics, we finally see who looks good in spandex. Surprisingly, it's a great variety of us -- petite and tiny, squat and muscular, tall and thin, lean and buff. The variety of bodies, even in the same sport, was stunning, but all looked great.

These women were alive, they were powerful, they had energy and all this added up to many types of beauty. The clincher though was their smiles. Maybe our mothers were right. Inner beauty does shine through or as Little Orphan Annie put it, "You are never fully dressed without a smile."

The message for all of us is: Spend time on those beauty routines that enhance your own energy and strength and the power will come. Focus on the core, that is the core you. Rather than external accoutrements. It just might free up some time and money and some parts of you lying fallow.

The Olympics is meant to be an ideal, a goal to reach and universally that goal is one of expansion and inclusion. We see a picture of what an ideal human order would look like. Not always perfect, but always moving forward, expanding choice and opportunity and our vision of who is acceptable.