The latest internet craze to surface is one that quite frankly is absolutely disgusting. The memes of individuals who don’t reach our standardised perception of beauty are being used as sources for public mockery on a grand scale. Their appearances, weight and disabilities are being shamed online by thousands and thousands of distasteful individuals – and all for a little ‘tag your mate’ joke.
What I’m sat here wondering as I witness the never ending surge of this trend on my Facebook news feed is: at what point did we lose the ability to consider how our actions may affect and hurt other people? At what point did it become socially accepted by the masses to bully? That is exactly what this trend is, it is a sinister form of bullying being perpetrated by thousands of participants who see absolutely no problem with mocking, demeaning and ridiculing others just because they don’t match our societal beauty standards.
I thought we were on the way to becoming a more inclusive and accepting society, I mean that was the plan wasn’t it? All these policies and trends that try to progress things forward in a global movement that aims to defeat judgemental prejudices and stereotypes. So why are we letting something so demoralising surface and take us five steps backwards?
Disabilities, obesity or imperfect teeth are not defining factors of what a person has to offer, and as the saying goes ‘you should not judge a book by the cover’. For all we know those images circulating are of some of the kindest people going and surely you have to wonder how they would feel seeing thousands of cruel and inconsiderate people tagging each other in these memes with the intention to get others to also laugh at their appearance.
One example in particular is of motivational speaker and author, Lizzie Velasquez. This spectacular woman has, spoken out against bullying since being dubbed ‘the world’s ugliest woman’ in a YouTube video back in 2006. Since then she has delivered an incredible TED Talk and her YouTube videos have received over 54 million views.
Lizzie was born with a rare congenital disease which means she cannot put on any body fat, because of this she has become a victim to this vicious online meme trend. Surely this woman, who has sought to do so much good for others and inspired millions, does not deserve to have thousands mock her? And surely no one else who has had an image used has done anything close to deserving of such harsh treatment?
Has 2016 just rid us of our humanity and compassion, because I’m seriously troubled by what all this suggests. Actions have consequences, and I feel like this shouldn’t need to be said but, bullying really hurts. Put yourself in their shoes and think, ‘if this was your picture would you hope people would be compassionate towards you?’ So next time you see this pop up on your timeline, I really hope you think twice before tagging your mate.