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Tag someone who... why these social media posts are so wrong.

Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,732Administrator Scope community team
edited December 2016 in Guest blogs
"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. Spread love not hurtful words via a screen." -Lizzie Velasquez

I have been unfortunate enough to see a few of these memes going around Facebook with an image of someone (usually a woman) who the poster does not deem attractive, with the words 'Tag someone who'.  The general theme of these posts is to shame the person in the image and suggest that whoever is tagged, would like to be intimate with that person.

These posts seems to cover all the bases of offence, they are usually sexist, sometimes homophobic and often ableist.  

So why is it that people are sharing them? It is easy to click share on images, posts and memes that you find vaguely amusing without sitting back and thinking through the consequences of your actions.  My rule of thumb with social media sharing is that if I wouldn't say it in earshot of my parents, I shouldn't share it on the internet. When you share something that dehumanises a person into an object of ridicule, you really need to stop and think about your motives.  Would you say this to a person's face? 

One of the images I saw featured a photo of Lizzie Velasquez, if you don't know who she is, take a look at her TED talk on how you define yourself. Lizzie has a syndrome that means she cannot gain weight and is visually impaired.  The meme asked people to tag a friend who would meet up with Lizzie in an intimate way, the message being that you could embarrass your friend by suggesting he would date a person who wasn't the traditional ideal of beauty.

As we talk about online bullying this week (and don't forget you can ask questions to Samantha Renke all week about her experiences) we have discussed whether you should 'feed the trolls' or block and delete people.  But when your image is going viral around the world, it must be very difficult to stay silent.  Lizzie posted this message on her facebook page saying just how it felt to be treated this way.

What a great sentiment, to spread love, not hurtful words. Let's use these awful posts to turn it around and spread some awareness and human kindness rather than spite and hurt.  And let's remember that beauty is about so much more than physical appearance, it is about kindness, personality, humour, spirit and being a great person.

What do you think? Have you seen the posts? Can it ever be seen as 'just a joke'? How should we react to online bullying?


Scope
Senior online community officer

Replies

  • Zec RichardsonZec Richardson Posts: 147Member Pioneering
    Yes I have seen these posts on Facebook!
    Saying things like "I'm looking for dave" and it's disgusting that these photos of people are being used in this way.
    Sadly Facebook seems to be full of people who behave like sheep, once a few people do it, they all do because they want to fit in and get the likes of laughs.

    I doubt this will ever change, we see this behaviour in real life to some degree and I always question why people can't think for themselves? I refuse to join in on many of the posts that go around on Facebook.
  • Jennifer14OwenJennifer14Owen Posts: 17Member - under moderation Connected
    Hi Sam I was builed last year and bit of this year over my spefic colour paper which I need help me manger a condition so yes a horrible thing
  • shonalouiseshonalouise Posts: 15Member Courageous
    I have one of the same conditions as Lizzie, Marfan Syndrome, and seeing all these memes have made me so angry. It is not a joke, it isn't funny, it's damaging. People with Marfan already sometimes have poor body confidence because of some of the secondary conditions like scoliosis and the fact that sufferers are usually very tall and slim. So, things like this just make that so much worse. People can be so horrible.
    UK Disability and Lifestyle Blogger
    Marfan Syndrome Advocate
    www.shonalouise.com
    @shonalouiseblog
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 689 Listener
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