When Melissa Blake, a woman born with Freeman-Sheldon syndrome, was trolled and bullied online over her looks, she hit back against the haters. ‘Trolls said I was too ugly for selfies, so I hit back’, she said. And what did the woman do? She kept posting her selfies on Twitter.
Some people spend their entire life judged and underestimated due to their looks. And social media have become a place where many are being criticized and bullied.
A lot of people feel free to make fun of others by saying their wicked thoughts online, harassing and embarrassing them, and displaying their “power”. They find there isn’t anything “wrong” when shaming others for their mistakes and their misfortune.
Last year, Melissa Blake, a freelance journalist and disability blogger from Illinois, went viral for being brave enough to fight against online trolls and bullies.
Melissa’s thought-provoking article about Donald Trump was featured in a YouTube video. That would be nothing if her article worked normally. The point here many netizens were not interested in its content — instead, focused on Melissa’s appearance.
Many of them were incredibly cruel by dropping harsh and heart-breaking comments all over her page.
Melissa was born with the Freeman-Sheldon syndrome, a rare congenital bone, and muscle disorder that restricts movement in the hands and feet, and leads to abnormalities of the head and face.
However, the woman ignored other people’s stares and comments. She never let them stop her from holding head high in life.
Yet, this time, she has had enough. She explained that people were talking about her appearance “in really derogatory, nasty ways”, calling her “‘ugly’ and saying ‘she looks like a parade balloon.”
After reading a comment that suggested that she should be banned to post her pictures, she was incredibly hurt, but decided to fight back directly- and posted three of her selfies on Twitter.
Of course, there were still some negative comments. But she got thousands of other people who started encouraging and supporting her!
Until now, her post has received more than 314,6 likes, 9.8K comments, and has been retweeted over 36,8K times! Her victory against the trolls was a victory for everyone ever judged for their looks!
Melissa said that this is something a lot of women face, “they are subject to visual attacks.”
“I’d be lying if I said they didn’t bother me and it’s hard not to get down on yourself. These people are just sitting at home hiding behind their keyboards. I don’t think they would say half of what they say on the internet to someone’s face.”
The brave woman started the #MyBestSelfie challenge on Twitter, encouraging her followers to share their selfies and write gentle, kind words to themselves.
Melissa struggles to show the rest of the world that a disability is a state of existence and not a punishment, adding that “what we consider beautiful is so narrow.”
All that people with disability want is inclusion, respect, and the dignity they deserve.
She continues her fight via her inspiring articles that aim to change the narrative about disabilities with her inspiring articles.
“I feel the support of so many people around the world that I never even met. It’s been overwhelming in the best way possible. The negativity often overshadows a lot of the good people, but it’s nice to see the other side of it for once.”
Speaking about trolls and cyberbullies, Melissa says:
“I hope my selfies help them see there is a human on the other side of the computer they’re insulting. I think it just goes back to treating people how you want to be treated. I know that sounds so simple and cliché, but I think it’s true.”
Be kind to everyone, including yourself.
To all of you out there. If you are being belittled or shamed for your appearance, please keep mind that, you are beautiful, and unique, among more than 7 billion people on this planet.
Don’t let anyone undervalue you. You were born that way and you are beautiful in the way it’s supposed to be. Be confident. Love yourself.