Lizzie Velasquez is a motivational speaker who suffers from a rare disease that prevents her from gaining weight and puts her brain, heart, eyes, and bones at risk. When she was 17, someone made a video about her and named it “The Ugliest Woman in the World’. One day, Lizzie stumbled upon the video (which had 4 million views by then) by accident. Adding to her pain were the nasty comments on the video (some of the comments included, “Why didn’t her parents kill her?” “What a monster!”). Lizzie was shattered but somehow found the strength to bounce back. She decided to make her own YouTube channel and tell her story to the world. She went on to give a TEDX talk, appear on TV shows and inspire people all around the world.
I understand that calling someone “inspirational” can be condescending because sometimes people use that word to say, “If I were in your place/If I looked like you, I would have killed myself and that’s why I consider you courageous”. For me, Lizzie is inspirational because she stood up against bullying. The internet is a boon for trolls and bullies because they can just remain anonymous and say shit about others. There is a lot of criticism about ‘today’s generation’ but the older generation must remember that the “kids of today” don’t “have it all easy”. Today, any troll from any part of the world can rip apart a child’s self-esteem. Women are more vulnerable because if a guy on the internet doesn’t agree with you, he can send you rape threats (don’t believe me? Check out the comments/Twitter replies on women’s rights activist Kavita Krishnan’s posts. Or any female celeb for that matter). Some men attack a woman’s looks if they are losing an internet debate/ if women don’t agree with them. Filmmaker Karan Johar is daily called ‘gay’ and it is intended to be an insult! I don’t think the world has become meaner. The internet has merely exposed the shit which was always there in people’s minds.
P.S If you wish to know more about Lizzie, please watch the documentary, ‘A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story’.