So…just a question. I’ve seen this picture going around for a while now, and everyone who has shared it and commented on it finds it hilarious. Even my first reaction was to find it funny…for about a half second. My laugh faded off as soon as I remembered that this girl is a human being…not an object of entertainment. Perhaps I’m being oversensitive…or perhaps I’m being appropriately sensitive. Has anyone thought about how humiliating it must be for this girl to have her body mocked like this by people around the world? Isn’t this the kind of bullying that causes young women to hate themselves, go into deep depressions, commit suicide, develop eating disorders, etc? Or perhaps she’ll sell her body or give it away now because she has been shown that her body has no value to men and society at large. We’re so quick to call a girl a “slut”, but perhaps this is how we all contribute to a girl becoming one.
You can see in her body language in the photo that she’s already self conscious. Imagine what it would be like for her to see her body being mocked by complete strangers wherever she goes and sees people laughing. If she clicks on the meme and sees how many tens of thousand of people have shared it, Liked it, and commented on it like it’s the most hilarious thing they’ve ever seen, just imagine how destructive that would be to the sense of self worth of an already self conscious young girl. I felt disgusted with myself for even having the inclination to find this meme funny when I thought about what it’s doing to a person.
I imagined if that was my sister who happened to have been born with a very slim frame. Or perhaps she was once voluptuous but is now very skinny because she developed an eating disorder after experiencing some sort of physical, psychological, or sexual trauma. What would it feel like for you to see your sister’s picture passed around by friends getting a huge laugh when you know firsthand the pain that it’s causing her? Who knows what her story is? What I do know is that mocking her is absolutely cruel. If you have Liked, Shared, or commented on the photo in laughter, I’m not condemning or judging you at all. I started to laugh too, and that’s clearly something I need to examine within my own value system within my mind. That’s just fucked up and I don’t like it.
All I’m doing for you is sharing the realization that occurred to me, as a man, as I began to laugh…helping you remember that she is a human being, and that perhaps she needs our compassion far more than our mocking laughter.
– Michael Verdun