I was on Facebook recently, and a friend shared a meme with a large chested woman in a dress that barely covered the basics. It looked like a wedding dress. My friend tagged someone else, and captioned it, “Don’t wear this to prom!” The rest of the comments were things like “trashy” and “she paid so much for her breasts that she couldn’t afford the rest of the dress.”
And all I could think was: that’s someone’s moment that other people are ripping to shreds.
Picture this: you’re surfing the internet, and an embarrassing photo of you comes up. Maybe you were actually doing something embarrassing. Maybe it just was an unfortunate moment where you had a wardrobe malfunction, or it looked like you were doing something you weren’t. It’s bad lighting or a bad angle.
Or maybe it’s not you. Maybe it’s your daughter. Your brother. Your best friend.
You look at the comments because you can’t help yourself, and they’re things like “trashy,” “don’t wear this!” and “she couldn’t afford the whole dress.”
What do you do if it’s someone you care about who’s being ripped to shreds?
In the case of the woman and the dress, one of the comments was from a “wedding designer” who said that the top was supposed to be higher, but had folded under the weight of her breasts. Maybe the dress came defective or the straps broke. Maybe it wasn’t supposed to look like that. Maybe she had a wardrobe malfunction, and someone snapped a photo at that moment.
Or, maybe she looked in the mirror and thought that dress was the one that made her feel pretty. Maybe she thought she looked like a princess. Does it matter?
She’s a person, just like the rest of us. And while I wouldn’t wear a dress like that, and maybe you wouldn’t either, why do any of us have the right to judge her? To bully her?
If she goes online and sees that picture of herself, how do you think she’ll feel about it? Most people, no matter how confident, can’t ignore bullying. No matter how brave we feel, something in us crumbles when we’re told, especially repeatedly, that there’s something wrong with us.
So, the next time you see a “funny” meme, think before you comment or share. Remember that it’s a real person, and if that were you, how would you feel about it being shared?
In case you’re interested, here’s a few real life stories where people found that they’d become memes.
Lizzie Velasquez was called the “world’s ugliest woman” when she was 17.
Danielle Ann is a troubled young lady who appeared on Dr. Phil, and one fake news site joked about how she’d committed suicide.
Balpreet Kaur is a Sikh, and as such, forbidden from changing her appearance. A man took a picture of her, and posted it on Reddit. This woman’s response makes me admire her endlessly. She’s the epitome of the person I’m striving to be. She gave a really great TED talk on kindness.