Tagging your friends in one of those “I’m looking for…” memes is a bit of passing fun, right? Well, meet Lizzie Velasquez.
The Internet is a strange place. The very same people who decry the scourge of cyber bullying, and post their condolences on the latest bullying related tragedy, will be the same people who tag their friends in pictures of people deemed to appear amusing on the train ride home.
But it’s okay, it’s not bullying if it’s dressed up as a meme. Sure, it’s still a real photograph of a very real person, but the severely outdated, harsh-on-the-eyes, white impact font make it all okay.
All’s fair if it’s just in jest, right?
The world in which the Internet exists is not a vacuum. The people you mock and post deriding comments about, all while inviting friends to join in, see just as much social media as you do.
They also feel the same emotions you would feel if you found yourself plastered across the Internet, thousands of people “liking” the hilarious and definitely not offensive meme you’ve become.
You’d probably feel pretty upset. Probably pretty hurt, too. Everywhere you turn, you’d see more of your assailants, every media platform a new opportunity to be insulted.
Ain’t cyber bullying a bitch?
Lizzie Velasquez was one such victim of humanity’s bad side.
Born with a rare genetic condition called lipodystrophy, which makes the body unable to accumulate fat under the skin, Lizzie saw a video of herself at age 17, in which she was called the “world’s ugliest woman” and recommended to commit serious self-harm.
Now 27, the author, speaker and anti-bullying activist found herself again at the brunt of worldwide disparagement. This time, she was being demonised in a meme on Facebook:
“You might find it hilarious but the human in the photo is probably feeling the exact opposite,” she wrote in a hugely shared post.
The joke isn’t too funny now. Who knew that egging on friends to post on an insulting photo of someone could actually insult the person in the photo?
Next we’ll be saying it’s not okay to laugh at bullying anymore, and that just sounds ridiculous.