I’ve been seeing these memes everywhere. The ones of men and women who don’t fit society’s expectations of beauty. They have gone viral from people tagging their friends in them and having a nice laugh over it.
While they may seem harmless, or even funny to some people, what we are forgetting is that those people in the photos are real. They are humans just like you and me. And they don’t deserve this.
Imagine you are scrolling through your timeline and you see a photo of yourself with millions of people making fun of you. Making fun of you for something that you are probably already self-conscious about. Imagine having your insecurities exploited and go viral and there is nothing you can do about it.
The sad thing is that the damage is done. All we can do now is stop and encourage others to as well. Delete the posts, and report the ones that you see.
One of the memes was of Lizzie Velasquez, who has endured extremes amounts of body shaming during her life for a rare condition that causes a lot of health issues. She now speaks around the nation to stop bullying. She responded to these memes saying the following:
“I’ve seen a ton of memes like this all over Facebook recently. I’m writing this post not as someone who is a victim but as someone who is using their voice. Yes, it’s very late at night as I type this but I do so as a reminder that the innocent people that are being put in these memes are probably up just as late scrolling through Facebook and feeling something that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. No matter what we look like or what size we are, at the end of the day we are all human. I ask that you keep that in mind the next time you see a viral meme of a random stranger. At the time you might find it hilarious but the human in the photo is probably feeling the exact opposite. Spread the love not hurtful words via a screen. Xoxo Lizzie.”
She has thousands of responses to this post but my favorite was this one directed at Lizzie’s mother from a man named Michael Mendieta:
“I’m still waiting to meet Lizzie behind the tree. She is such an inspiring person. I’m more than happy to say she’s my Facebook friend and from my hometown. I was hurt when I saw this meme, but then I realized this may help spread Lizzie’s message to people who don’t know it. Mrs. Velasquez, you have raised one of the greatest persons in this earth. I pray that we have more Lizzie’s in this world. Lord knows we need them. One last thing...which tree do I find Lizzie Velasquez so I can give her a huge [hug emoji].”