How would you react when you are named the ugliest woman on earth?

by Sylvia

Lizzie Valasquez | 40plusstyle.com

I came across a powerful story today and I just had to share this with you as I feel it can help women with poor self esteem or those that still suffer from the effects of bullying.

Lizzie Velasquez has been bullied basically most of her life. It started at the age of 5 when she attended kindergarden and came to a head when she was 17 years old and was named the ugliest woman alive in a Youtube video. Comments on that video were beyond cruel.

Born with a rare disease Lizzie is unable to gain any weight. Not only has this affected her appearance, she also gets ill quite quickly and has very poor eye sight. However, instead of letting all this and the severe bullying get to her, she decided instead to defy the bullies and show them that she is a force to be reckoned with.

In this inspiring TED talk Lizzie outlines her strategy of defiance and her plans to make a difference. “Would I let being called a monster define me? No,” she says. “I’m going to let my goals, my success and my accomplishments define me. Not my outer appearance or that I’m visually impaired, nor that I have a syndrome that nobody understands. I had to use those negative things and turn them upside down. And I did. I used them as a ladder to climb towards my goals.”

I have been subjected to bullies throughout my youth and know how cruel people can be. I also know that the bullying has shaped me as a person. It has made me tougher and perhaps more determined but it also left plenty of scars.

I feel it is so important to make people aware of the effects bullying has on others. Both children and adults alike need to understand that bullying of any kind, wether carried out in person or online is very harmful to people.

Lizzie is well on her way to do something about this. Her talks inspire many to defy the bullies and turn any negativity into a positive.

She has already written 2 books with a third on the way, but is now also planning to create a film based on her story which aims to create a more positive online world. She has started a Kickstarter project that has already raised the $180,000 needed to create the film. Any further funds will help to finish the movie and aid with distribution. I was very happy to contribute as well. There are still 2 days left to donate if you also like to help.

Have you ever been bullied? Were you inspired by this TED talk?

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Greetje Kamminga

Oh yes, I have been bullied. Why? Because I react exactly the way bullies like it. There wasn’t an awful lot wrong with me, so they had to dig. They chose the fact I was skinny and that my first name rhymes to a lot of ugly words. The subjects didn’t really matter. You feel alone, not understood, vulnerable, left out. I never did anything back as I am not shaped that way. It is in my soul not to hurt anybody (at least not intentionally). Least of all over appearance. After all, the way you look is not your own doing. If we were able to create our own looks, we would all look very different. So if your looks aren’t your fault, how can I say anything about it? Besides, even if they were somebody’s fault, who am I to judge?
It lasted from primary school until I was 16. Thank God, I have a soul made of rubber. I bounce back. And I think Lizzie had the good fortune of loving parents, a clever brain and LOADS of CHARACTER. She said very wise words.

Sylvia

Yes, that’s how I feel too. The problem is that 5 year olds don’t think that rationally yet. They just react. And when you look very different at that age, even children that young can be quite cruel and it shapes you as a person as your brain is still developing and making connections at that age. It must have been very tough for Lizzie. I think both the parents of children who are different as well as the parents who interact with those children are very important. Parents of those other children have the obligation to educate and tell their children to be nice and become friends with children like Lizzie.

Lorraine

I wasn’t bullied as a child but I was aware of it going on. However, I was bullied as an adult and you can read about the resulting depression here:
http://40plusstyle.com/what-is-depression-and-how-to-cope-with-it/

Lizzie is amazing. She has been fortunate enough to have parents who have given her the confidence to use her experience for the greater good. Well done to her! I think she is beautiful.

Sylvia

Yes I think loving parents AND parents that don’t let her feel sorry for herself are very important.

Natalia

Lizzie is AMAZING and unique. And while I understand that she claims that negativity is what she turns into her success in life (and good for her), I think that what really shaped her is the unconditional love from her absolutely amazing parents. Love creates miracles. Thank you for this post, Sylvia!

Sylvia

I agree Natalia. The bullying probably just made her tougher and more determined.

Rita

What a wonderful example and a great role model! I’m going to go buy her books, not so much because I need them but because I want to support her. I’m looking forward to hearing about all of the great things she accomplishes and people she helps. I loved it when she said , “I’ve got great hair”, because I kept thinking, “she really has pretty hair.” 🙂

I had my run-ins with bullies as a kid, but they lost interest in me quickly because I just plain didn’t care about what they said. “You’re ugly”, to which I’d reply, “Yeah, I know”. Or someone would say, “I hate you.” “OK,” I’d reply, and go on with what I was doing. I just wasn’t any fun. I suspect bullying back in my childhood was much milder than it is today, however. Plus there was no social media as a bullying tool. As an adult, I’ve had to push back on the MP&S (Male, Pale, and Stale) population at work at times, especially as a young Air Force officer. I’d get dismissed by the “old, wiser, men”…ONCE. Then I’d call them on the carpet and it wouldn’t happen again. LOL! I actually did find out that, in a later civillian job, a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer that I was working with literally hated me (translate, he was thretened by me). I wasn’t hurt or bothered, just really astounded. He was sort of a dunce, so luckily I didn’t have to work with him long.

Great article! I’d love to see lots more discussion here. I hope everyone takes away the great positive message this young lady left us with!!

Sylvia

Thanks for your feedback Rita and glad you were inspired by this woman and the article. Yes, I think there is a message here for all of us which is why I wanted to share it. However, it is my experience that these articles get less attention than they deserve.

Dawn Lucy

What an inspiration!

Sylvia

She is!

Rebecca

Thank you for posting this wonderful video. I never heard about Lizzie before but I was so impressed and amazed by her ability to overcome such major obstacles with a sense of self worth, courage and humor. Like so many others, I was bullied from childhood through high school. When you are bullied, you are often too embarrassed to tell others what is happening because in a strange way you feel that you are deserving of this treatment. I am so glad that Lizzie is able to take what happened to her and challenge others to fight against this cruelty.

Sylvia

I think most of us that have experienced bullying ourselves can understand just how bad things must have been for Lizzie. I think it’s very impressive indeed that she has come out of this with such determination and good spirit.

theresa

when I was a child, there were 3 brothers that picked on me and would take any money I had, while walking home from school. they scared the crap out of me. then I found out they collected bits of tin foil to make giant tinfoil balls. I started collecting all bits that I could find, then I gave it to them. they were happy with my effort. I was now an all right kid. what they didn’t know was now..they… were… mine!! I bought my way out of a daily trouncing with the tin foil off gum wrappers. good for lizzie. those people can only lay claim to being the worlds biggest bullies.

Sylvia

You were very smart Theresa!

Anja van der Vorst

Thanks for sharing this, Sylvia. As you can expect, having been bullied until I was 30 years old, this woman and her talk moved me to tears.

I don’t even understand how she survived this hatred, rejection and aggression, because that’s what it is. Rationally you know it has nothing to do with her, because these people don’t even know her. But I would be devastated and crushed if it happened to me.

I am sure it is the unconditional love and the wisdom of her parents, her own character and wisdom, her intelligence and her wonderful sense of humor that got her through this! And I am so happy about that.

Man, life is unfair!

Sylvia

Yes that how it feels sometimes but at least something good has come out of this. Lizzie will be a brilliant voice to do something about this issue and hopefully wake people up. It’s the parents that need to teach their children that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable.

Annette

Thank you for sharing this video, Sylvia.
I admire Lizzie for her strength and her parents for raising her that way!
Bullying hasn’t been such an issue when I was I child I think. Nowadays it happens a lot more often and even in a more aggresive way. It is terrible.
How strong Lizzie must have been to overcome that time and grow in strength. Amazing woman!

Annette | Lady of Style

Isa

Now, at the age of 50, my first question who be , “by whom ?”

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