WNBA Players Criticized for Wearing Fake Lashes, Hair Extensions and Long Nails
WNBA players are speaking out about the backlash and criticism they face for embracing their femininity while on the court.
Tennessee center Tamari Key is reportedly a prime example of this. Fans attacked her on social media late last year for wearing eyelash extensions during a game that she allegedly played poorly in. As MSN reports, “Some accused Key of caring about her looks more than winning,” the outlet writes.
“Seeing those comments kind of made my heart drop, because nobody deserves to have to deal with that,” South Carolina guard Brea Beal said.
“Seeing that made my heart hurt, because I’ve seen those comments for myself and my teammates or people I’m friends with in the basketball community. It’s not a good feeling to have to deal with that, and it kind of weighs heavy on your mind, people blaming how I’m playing on my appearance. For some people, it starts to mess with them,” Beal added.
Several WNBA players wear hair extensions, eyelash extensions and some have caught heat from fans for wearing fake long nails on and off the court.
“They just have their opinions on it and it feels like, ‘Oh, she missed that shot because she can’t see because of her lashes,’ but no, I can see perfectly fine. I just missed the shot,” said Tennessee’s Jordan Walker, who has also been on the receiving end of criticism for how she chooses to express herself on the court.
“I feel like a lot of comments are like that, but it’s just because they truly don’t understand and they don’t know. And so I think that the education piece is the best part,” Walker added.
Chicago Sky point guard Dana Evans has noted that the attack on black women’s appearance is rooted in racism.
“It’s not fair to us, and as a fan, I feel like – you have a lot of Black women that are expressing themselves. Why are you trying to downgrade them?” Evans said. “Why are you trying to make them feel less than themselves, when you should be supporting them when they’re playing for your team?”
Even though non-Black players also wear faux lashes, only Black women are being targeted.
Beal noted that “for Black women in any sport, I feel like you have to do the extra things to be included or to be broadcasted more compared to other athletes.”
She added, “So I do feel like naturally, as bad as it sounds, people do put Black athletes in that box, and they have to do crazy things or stand out to be actually talked about or noticed.”
Female athletes constantly “have to show how marketable we are,” Evans said, adding, “and how we’re also a basketball player – but we can also model, we can be pretty, we can do other things.”