A recent trend on Facebook has seen images that body- or image-shame people with disabilities, or people who don’t meet mainstream standards of beauty. Those images are being tagged with a person’s name and a message along the lines of either “I’m waiting for Michael” or “Phillip said he’d meet me here”. The point of these memes is obviously to make fun of those tagged for allegedly having anything to do with people who don’t meet society’s standards of beauty. But people are now fighting back, drawing a line in the sand, and saying that this sort of despicable, playground bullying isn’t okay.
One of the people singled out in these memes is a woman called Lizzi Velasquez, who suffers from a syndrome which prevents her from gaining weight. She’s the subject of the documentaryA Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story. It recounts how she went online and found a YouTube video of herself, titled The World’s Ugliest Woman. Comments below the video added:
Why didn’t her parents just abort her?!
KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!!!!!
Do everyone a favor and just kill yourself
Velasquez responded to the online hatred by becoming a public speaker, and speaking out against bullying. And you can see her doing so in the TED talk below:
Velasquez is one of the people to have been pictured in these memes. But, as this response shows, some people are refusing to stand for that:
Not a joke
Some of those targeted in these memes are not disabled. Rather, most of them simply aren’t what’s considered to be conventionally attractive. And people have also come forward to stand up for them:
No time to go backwards
We now live in a world in which the next American President has very publicly ridiculed the disabled. He’s also well known for judging women by their appearance. And as a result, the rest of us cannot just stand idly by while other human beings are belittled by bullies.
In a world of Donald Trumps, stand up and be a Lizzie Velasquez.
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.