Health

Lizzie Velasquez Calls out Her Online Bullies, Again.

December 13th 2016

By:
Laura Donovan

Lizzie Velasquez has faced a lot of online bullying for having neonatal progeroid syndrome, a rare genetic condition that keeps her from gaining weight and affects her physical appearance. Though Velasquez's TED Talk about overcoming such harassment went viral in 2014, and inspired famous people and non-famous individuals alike, she still deals with hurtful comments online. Velasquez shared a mean-spirited meme she found of herself on Instagram Sunday to highlight the cruelty she continues to face because of her appearance.

"I've seen a ton of memes like this all over [Facebook] recently," Velasquez wrote. "I'm writing this post not as someone who is a victim but as someone who is using their voice. Yes, it's very late at night as I type this but I do so as a reminder that the innocent people that are being put in these memes are probably up just as late scrolling through Facebook and feeling something that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy."

She said it is important to remember that the individuals featured in memes have feelings:

"No matter what we look like or what size we are, at the end of the day we are all human. I ask that you keep that in mind the next time you see a viral meme of a random stranger. At the time you might find it hilarious but the human in the photo is probably feeling the exact opposite."

She added in a follow-up video on Instagram that memes like this might seem "funny" to others, but they're not so funny to the people in them.

A similar incident from Velasquez's past exposed her to online cruelty of this nature.

Velasquez told Today in August 2015 that at 17, she found a photo of herself on a YouTube video that called her the "ugliest woman in the world." She said that there were a lot of negative comments about the video, with one person saying the world would be better off without her.

"I felt like someone was putting a fist through the computer screen and physically punching me," Velasquez told Today. "I bawled my eyes out."

Others have spoken out about memes that mock appearances.

A mother named AliceAnn Meyer told the New York Daily News in February 2016 that her son Jameson's picture had been used in a cruel meme online. She posted a photo of her son with chocolate on his face on social media, and an unknown troll turned his image into a meme comparing him to a pug. Meyer said she wants to do everything she can to have posts of the cruel meme taken down.

 

 

"When you have a child with differences, you worry about how the world will look at them," Meyer told the New York Daily News. "It's in the back of your mind, and it's sad when something like this occurs."