The world can be a bitterly cruel place sometimes.
Though we’re taught to never judge a book by its cover, and that beauty is only skin deep, many still find themselves the subject of harsh bullying based on their appearance alone.
Journalist and writer Melissa Blake knows all about this. Her essays on disability, relationships, and pop culture have informed and inspired people around the world, and yet she still finds herself on the end of insults from bullies who don’t like how she looks.
38-year-old Melissa has been forced to endure being likened to a ‘blob fish’ and a ‘potato with a face’.
Fortunately, she had the perfect way to fire back at the haters.
Melissa Blake was born with Freeman-Sheldon syndrome, a condition caused by a mutation of the gene responsible for moving substances between cells during development. During her lifetime, she’s had to endure around 25 surgeries, whilst she also uses a wheelchair to get around.
One common symptom of Freeman-Sheldon syndrome is an altered facial appearance, with features including a smaller, ‘pursed’ mouth and decreased nose cartilage.
Reminder that this is what it’s like to be a disabled woman writer on the internet AND #ThisIsAmerica in 2019: A conservative YouTuber mentioned my recent op-ed about #UnfollowTrump. The comments? I’m fat, ugly and look like a blob fish, a parade balloon and a potato with a face. pic.twitter.com/ROczIXKNom
In Melissa’s case, this differentiation from ‘the norm’ has resulted in horrible abuse online. On September 8 she took to Twitter to open up on the vile comments she’s received. One person likened her to a ‘blob fish’, another a ‘potato’.
One commenter even went so far as to suggest she should be banned because she’s too ‘ugly’.
“People wonder why I’ve struggled so much with self-acceptance when it comes to how I look and our society’s notion of what “beautiful” is. It’s because of comments like these — comments that dismiss me and deem me unworthy,” Melissa explained.
“[…] This is just one more example of the type of ableism that people with disabilities face every day and it’s something I’m constantly trying to change.”
Not letting her tormentors get her down, however, Melissa had the perfect response to those saying she should refrain from uploading pictures: she uploaded more.
“During the last round of trollgate, people said that I should be banned from posting photos of myself because I’m too ugly. So I’d just like to commemorate the occasion with these 3 selfies…”
During the last round of trollgate, people said that I should be banned from posting photos of myself because I’m too ugly. So I’d just like to commemorate the occasion with these 3 selfies… 📸😉👋🏻 pic.twitter.com/9ZuSYFOtwv
Her comeback tweet certainly had its desired effect. It’s since been liked 272,000 times on Twitter, with fans praising Melissa’s courage and strength of character.
What’s more, Melissa’s work is more popular than ever – those who sought to put her down have well and truly failed!
Bullying has no place in modern society, and it sickens me to think of the cowards who hide behind their computer screens and torment others simply to cover for their own shortcomings and insecurities.
Melissa Blake, you are a true inspiration. We wish you all the very best moving forward.
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