• Fri, Sep 14 2012

Meet Lizzie Velasquez: A Human Being, Not “The Ugliest Woman In The World”

Oh, the Internet, always ensuring that nice people feel really bad about themselves.

This time, the victim of brutal e-bullying is Lizzie Velasquez, a 23-year-old Texas State University student with an extremely rare medical condition that prohibits her body from gaining any fat. In fact, it’s so uncommon that only three people in the world are known to have it. Her mysterious illness requires her to eat every 15 minutes, keeps her weight at about 60 lbs. and has led to blindness in one of her eyes. In addition to all of this, Lizzie has had to contend with the cruelty of strangers.

After her decision to become a motivational speaker, some unfortunate people — and I use the term “people” loosely here — got wind of her story and have begun harassing her over the internet while encouraging others to do so. Although she says that she’s used to a certain level of insensitivity from people who don’t know her, Lizzie admitted on the Dr. Drew Show that it does bother her: “I’m human… of course these things are going to hurt.”

The bullying directed at Lizzie has included people dubbing her “The World’s Ugliest Woman” and spreading meme images using her photos around message boards. She has received emails telling her to commit suicide from full-grown adults, not simply bored kids. It has gotten so bad that there are literally websites entirely devoted to bashing her (don’t search for them — you’ll get really depressed about mankind).

During our teens and early twenties (and probably the rest of our lives), most of us have felt insecure appearance-wise at some point. It’s impossible to feel good about ourselves when we’re constantly being shown images of ridiculously attractive people made even more ridiculously attractive due to, if not sometimes a bit overboard. It’s unattainable. The last time a guy called me fat, I curled up like a hedgehog and cried for a week. But to have hundreds, perhaps even thousands of people on the Internet taking time out of their day to inform you that because you have a medical condition that prevents you from gaining weight, they believe you should die — that’s unimaginable.

One of the most fascinating things about this story is our culture’s obsession with continuously lowering everyone’s BMI, even those whose body fat is already dangerously low, yet people find it offensive enough to openly comment on when somebody actually has 0% body fat despite it not being her choice what-so-ever.

It’s also bizarre that a man can win $10,000 or other prizes for being deemed the “ugliest,” whereas a young woman simply wanting to inspire people is told to kill herself. If you decide to be laughed at and even benefit from people finding you unattractive, you’re apparently not grounds for open hunting as a young lady who dares to (gasp!) live her life unabashedly — posting photos, going on television, writing books — regardless of how people feel about her appearance.

So rather than let critics drive her to shy away from the limelight, Lizzie has instead turned this into an overwhelmingly positive experience. On Dr. Drew, she stated a desire to start changing how bullies think through how she reacts to people in public: “I’m starting to want to go up to these people [who are staring] and introduce myself or give them my card and say, ‘Hi, I’m Lizzie — Maybe you should stop staring and start learning’.”

In addition to her motivational speaking career, she participated in the It Gets Better Project that encourages adolescents to have hope for a future beyond bullies. Clearly, it did get better for Lizzie as she just released her second book, Be Beautiful, Be You, this month and her first one, Lizzie Beautiful has been out since 2010.

To learn more about Lizzie including her motivational speaking and books, visit her website.

Pics via ABCNews / Yahoo.

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  • Holden

    Thank you for this! I heard about Lizzie about a year ago and was saddened to see even news articles from “respectable” media outlets had to make some reference to her being “the ugliest woman” or some shit like that. She’s incredibly intelligent and really courageous for putting herself out there like this. I just hope they find some treatment for her someday.

    • http://samanthaescobar.com Samantha Escobar

      Totally agreed; I was pretty upset that that was exclusively how she was referred to. It’s just majorly whack. But on the bright side, it sounds like her books are doing well so I think that’s a big ol’ middle finger to some very unkind people of the Internet. I’m glad you enjoyed the article! :)

  • Beau Rippy

    Wooooooo! If I had a dog that looked like her I’d shave its as and make it walk backwards. That woman looks like she’s been beaten badly with a big ugly stick. Here in Iowa when hire people who are less ugly than she is to stand in our corn fields to scare crows away. I’d wager that she could clear the south 40 single-handedly!

    • http://samanthaescobar.com Samantha Escobar
    • Carrie

      Take your trolling elsewhere, please. No one wants it here.

    • Sam

      how about youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu kill yourself HUH

    • Amanda Chatel

      I can’t understand Beau Rippy’s comment… is that English?

      I knew trolls couldn’t spell very well, but that’s a whole mess of some poorly written ignorance right there. It also confirms that Iowa is just as boring as I originally thought if this is how he spends his weekend.

    • ebeneezer

      My comment to Beau Rippy
      It is so sad and unfortunate that this beautiful woman with such a lovely soul, has to suffer not one, but two diseases. The one that we read about that afflicts her, and Morons like YOU<Beau Rippy!! Neanderthals like you are a CANCER in the lives of all decent people!
      Beau Rippy The Moron Bully!!

    • Jen

      Beau Rippy -You are embarrassing the state of Iowa. Why don’t you go stand out in the south 40.

    • Marfy

      Beau sounds like a spindly little pimplefarm.

    • Jenna

      Umm, I live in Iowa, and I sincerely hope that people don’t think you represent all of us. I’m embarrassed to live in the same state as someone so hateful and disgusting as you, and I hope you get everything you deserve ten-fold.

    • Kari

      I agree

    • RONALD K HIXSON

      YOU ARE A LOT UGLIER THAN SHE WILL EVER BE. YOU ARE UGLY FROM THE INSIDE OUT ! I BET YOUR MOTHER WOULD REALLY BE PROUD OF YOUR DUMB ASS !

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1832100492 Bronx Bull

      your a cold hearted piece of shit and i’d beat your fuckin ass with my bare hands you fuck that how we do it in tthe Bronx motherfucker

    • OMKAR

      WHO THE FUCK ARE U TO JUDGE ABOUT OTHER PPL? ARE U GOD? FUCKING SHE IS SUFFERING INSTEAD OF PRAYING FOR HER U R PASSING THIS BULLSHIT COMMENTS? COME IN INDIA IN AND FRONT OF ME I WILL MAKE U LOOK MORE UGLIER AS U THINK SHE IS. MY MAIL ID IS omkarmahadik@gmail.com and my cell no is +919820366808 dare to call me u bastard. love this world and this world will love u.

    • Kari

      You know what why don’t you stop being an asshole and shut the f*** up

    • Kenny B

      what an idiot. I hope you die

  • Natalie

    That’s awesome for her! I think I’m going to get her books. I’m sure she has really inspirational things to say and plus, I like the idea of her making a buck or two and showing the rest of the world what’s what. Also, I can’t imagine ever telling anyone to commit suicide or wishing death on someone to the point where I would vocalize it, and especially not actually write it out. That’s insane!

  • Ella

    It’s deeply disturbing that a person can approach someone like Lizzie Velasquez without a shred of basic human empathy. The word “trolling” almost trivialises something that’s surely a sign of psycopathy.

    • http://samanthaescobar.com Samantha Escobar

      Believe me, I had to restrain myself from starting to swear profusely and insult their grammar (which is about as valid as their opinion). But then I remembered that that’s literally exactly what they want.

  • Erynn

    I feel like youtube in particular brings out the heinous raging asshole in people. The Internet in general of course but something about youtube commenters is particularly brutal. This girl is amazing. I hope she has plenty of support and knows not to listen to the haters… they’re just afraid because she reminds them of their own shortcomings as humans…

  • Jen

    This is disgusting. People have too much time on their hands– do they have nothing else better to do with their lives but bully some stranger on the internet?! Also, why is isn’t it kosher to comment on someone’s weight when they are more ample, but people feel free to make comments about a thin person’s frame? I am very slender, myself, and I am sick of being told I should “gain weight” or “eat a cheeseburger”. I have a normal appetite, but I’m a dancer. Thus I am slender, sheesh!

    Good for her for continuing her path, despite all the haters. She is a true heroine.

  • jessica t

    She is contributing something positive and wonderful to society and is beautiful. Anyone who would cut her down needs to take a serious look at themselves. We’re all human and deserve respect and kindness.

  • Laura

    Wow, this story brought tears to my eyes. It blows my mind that people would go so far out of their way and put so much effort into being so cruel and malicious, most especially considering her looks are caused by a horrible medical condition! What the fuck is wrong with this world? Truly an amazing woman, and I hope whoever makes fun of her gets acid poured on their face as they rot in hell.

  • Kj

    This brought tears to my eyes. She seems so courageous and inspiring… if only she had the publicity of certain she-devils of the “K” variety….

  • Christa

    This kind of thing always remind of this cartoon strip, which I think sums it up pretty well: http://thedoghousediaries.com/4503

  • Niki Putnam

    If we all were to take a moment & look at ourselves in the mirror, we are none without fault. I think she’s beautiful! How dare anyone say such horrible things about a person who was made by God!! As for the little man with cruel words a few statements above .. I’m sure Iowa can grow more than corn… grow some self confidence! Only people who are insecure about themselves say horrible things about other people! I pray that Lizzie Valasquez has a very long, healthy, prosperous, successful life! Xoxo I will be praying for you!

  • Corrinne

    You kick ass, woman!

  • Anna-Louise

    I think she’s beautiful.
    Not that it matters what anyone thinks.
    You go, girl.

  • Kelly K. Walsh

    It stinks she has to put up with such ignorant, inconsiderate, mean people (in my opinion, the definition of ugly people). I’m glad she is turning this into a positive thing and doing something about it for not only herself, but for others as well. Go Lizzie!

  • Jessica

    What a beautiful, strong and courageous woman! She is an inspiration to us all!

    • youarewrong

      actually she is ugly.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.houlihanash Alicia Houlihan-Ash

      you are ignorant!

  • Lilith

    Take a walk around your local Walmart and I guarantee you will find “people” that actually so disgusting it hurts to look directly at them. Whoever deemed her as the “ugliest woman in the world” has no creativity.

  • Anna

    What an inspiring woman. Lizzie, good on you for choosing to face up to all this and not hide away. I wish you all the success you deserve for working so hard on your career – two books published by 23 is an achievement a lot of writers could only dream of!

    These people who feel the need to hate a perfect stranger are simply demonstrating how unhappy they are in their own lives. What they are saying says nothing about the person they are attacking, but volumes about their own insecurities and personal misery.

    • JC

      You said it perfectly.

  • Kerry Winslow

    Lizzy is a very beautiful, intelligent, and smart woman. Kuddos to her. I just dont understand why people have to be so mean. I guess they have to to try and make themselves look good but it doesnt. I hope they get whats coming to them. Dont let them get you down Lizzy. Your beautiful inside and out.

  • Melanie

    She’s nowhere near the ugliest woman in the world. In my book, that distinction belongs to the woman at the head of the crowd when the U S Army had to escort the Little Rock Nine to their classes. Every time I see this picture

    http://www.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/crandall/CRvisual5.htm

    I wonder if that woman knows she is the personification of pure, unadulterated evil. And THE poster child for UGLY.

  • JOe chucks

    I’d hit it :)) ! lol. Any girl that can over come B.S and have so much confidence is fine as hell in my book!!

  • Amber

    I think Lizzie is very beautiful, she is beautiful on the inside and outside. Kuddos to her for not listening to the ignorant dumbasses in this world. Some people just want to put people down to make themselves feel better, I’m glad she sees through their insecurities and still stands proud and beautiful!!!

  • Spike

    Lizzie is amazing girl the bullies are low life losers it sickens me to see how some people behave to others.

  • tuhina

    Such a brave and beautiful woman actually… Salute to her ..!!