“Heavy makeup” banned by International Federation of Gymnastics

“Heavy makeup” banned by International Federation of Gymnastics

Brianna Adkins

On Oct. 29, a screenshot made its rounds across Twitter and Instagram, confirming what some speculated to be true: the International Federation of Gymnastics had banned “heavy makeup” from its competitions. The ban has earned criticism from members of the gymnastics community as well as from University students.

This ruling came after Céline van Gerner, 2016 Women’s Gymnastics Olympic finalist, performed in full costume and makeup to the Broadway hit, “Cats,” for last years International Federation of Gymnastics competition. While her proclaimed dedication to her piece was popular among audiences, some decided that her performance was too flashy. Gerner announced the new ruling, heavily inspired by her past performance, and posted it on Twitter for all to view.

“Just came in from Doha. I’m honored to be the FIRST, LAST and ONLY ONE in history who went out on stage in full character! Feeling blessed,” Gerner wrote on her Twitter page to accompany the screenshot.

The new rules for the international sporting event, held in Doha, Qatar, were written under a picture of Gerner’s past routine at the competition: “face painting is not allowed; any makeup must be modest and not portray a theatrical character (animal or human).”

The word “modest” can have many connotations. “‘Modest’ is undefinable,” said Jessica O’Beirne, host of the gymnastics podcast Gymcastic.

University students disagree with this ruling. Colleen McGovern, University sophomore said, “What qualifies as modest is objective, so the ban on heavy make-up will definitely need more addressing on the federation’s part.”

The federation’s ruling against “heavy makeup” seems to be problematic in this current climate, as women object to being told what they can and cannot do with their bodies. With the freedom of women’s right to abortion being challenged and sexual assault accusations headlining the news consistently, this ruling was the last straw for some. The statement announcing the newest regulation sparked rage from women’s rights activists, lovers of women’s gymnastics and makeup, and University students.

Tugba Guner, University junior and Pace Profashionals member, said, “Banning women from wearing makeup ridiculous,” said Guner. “If female gymnasts feel that they can complete their routines with a full face if they want to, they should be able to, if not—they don’t have to wear it. The removal of choice is unacceptable.”

Luba Baladzhaeva, editor of the gymnastics news site Gymnovosti took her concerns to Twitter, saying, “We’re policing makeup now?! Yet FIG doesn’t care about full-limb body tattoos on the men,” said Baladzhaeva. “Only women’s bodies are getting policed!”

There is some speculation about whether the ruling will be removed or not. While the competition claims to focus on the sport and the athletes involved, the attention appears to be hyper-focused on the decision that the federation must make in response to the feedback from its audience. Many are hoping that the choice for these female athletes to decide for themselves is placed back on the table.