Many people tend to cross the line of disrespect when it comes to commenting on photos seen online. One college student is sharing how hurtful it was when her picture became part of a cruel, widely-shared meme – and what she learned from the whole experience.
Ashley VanPevenage, from Tacoma, Washington, suffers from acne. But she didn’t realize the can of worms she was opening up when she allowed her make-up artist friend to share before and after pictures of her on Instagram.
Within days, the dual snapshots of the 20-year-old had been shared thousands of times, along with nasty comments criticizing her bare-faced appearance that left her unwilling to leave the house all natural.
In the first shot, the blonde’s face is riddled with acne, but in the second, her skin looks clear and bronzed, her lips are defined, and her eyes have been transformed with a smoldering smoky shadow.
A Texas college student named Virginia, copied the side-by-side comparison and posted it on Twitter to express awe at the makeover, writing, “I don’t understand how people can do this and I can’t figure out how to conceal a single pimple on my face.”
With hundreds of thousands of people having seen the meme or participated in spreading it, Ashley began experiencing harassment online. Her self-esteem was hurt, and she stopped feeling like she could leave the house without first painting her face.
But finally, this week, she decided that she was no longer going to sit back and take it. So she posted a video response on YouTube.
“I’ll be the first one to say that I used to be entertained by many memes,” she says at the beginning of the clip. “But when it’s actually you [in the meme], and you’re dealing with all the harsh comments, it’s a whole different story.”
She picked out a few choice zingers to illustrate her point, recalling how hurt she was to read each of them. But then, she said, she made the decision not to let those comments define her. #WeSupportAshley.
How do you think you would respond if this were you?
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