Megan on the dark side of Internet memes

trending 12/12/2016

Ahh, 2016. It's been strange. The internet has given us some amazing things this year, for example the young Aussie boy who sews teddy bears for sick kids in hospital (follow him here) and anything to do with otters (a few highlights).

It has also given us some really awful things like the family who abandoned their dog and then the poor puppy had to watch them take a new dog home and then the 6 grand-kids that didn't show up to their Grandad's dinner when he made them all burgers. I cried over both stories.

And now we have the "tag a friend" memes

For a couple of seconds, I wasn't going to write this article in fear that people would hail me a "kill joy" or that I "must be fun at parties" but then I snapped out of it. Stuff it, somebody could call me all the names in the world, and I wouldn't mind because if I get bullied for sticking up for someone, that's a pretty good reason to get bullied in my opinion.

I had been seeing these "tag so and so and tell them I'm looking for them" memes pop up a couple of times and didn't like the feeling they gave me. Just, yuck. But there are a lot of memes that crop up that I don't find all too funny, so I just ignored them and scrolled down the feed as fast as I could. 

It wasn't until I saw Lizzie Velasquez in one that I became mad. Seriously mad. I was angry and I felt sick and I wanted to throw things around the room. How could people, thousands and thousands of people, be so undeniably naiive and cruel. I recognized Lizzie from following her on YouTube after reading countless articles about this strong, funny, brave woman. 

And some f*ckwit took her face and used it for a shitty meme.

It affected me so badly I can't imagine how it must've affected Lizzie when she saw it. I think maybe people forget that real people are being used in the memes - and these real people probably have social media too. For a simple second, imagine someone using your photo and then reading hundreds of comments from around the world where friends have tagged friends to embarrass them at the mere thought of being with you. 

Watch Lizzie's video below that was uploaded by Allure magazine a couple of months ago and see how you feel afterwards.

If you saw her meme in particular, or any others - take a moment to listen to her story and how she uses her experience with online bullying to inspire others to be strong. She is real, alive, and on social media.

Written by: Megan Annear