Sometimes, I really hate the Internet. It's a wonderful tool that has led to a lot of really great changes in our lives. But by the same token, I truly believe that the Internet can bring out the worst in people. It's so easy to hide behind a computer screen and say hurtful things about others - things that they would never say if they were speaking to the person face to face. Often times, things they would never say aloud even if it was behind the person's back.
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On Monday a group on Facebook called "Chicago Bears Fan" posted the picture above on their page with the caption: "Like if You Agree the Packers Have the Worst Cheerleaders in the NFL!" Seriously? Adults are posting this kind of mean-spirited garbage. This is not ok. Ever. She is a real person, with real feelings.
Other reasons that I'm particularly bothered by this (which in no way, shape, or form change the bolded point above) are first, she's clearly beautiful. Just because she isn't a supermodel in skimpy clothing does not make her "less" of a cheerleader. Second, the Packers use cheerleaders from local colleges on gameday, which is pretty freaking amazing if you ask me. I know that my time on the field as a UW Marching Band member were some of the best times of my life so far, and I love that a "big" organization like the Packers give local students that same opportunity. They really, truly are a community organization and a community-oriented team. And third...the Bears don't even have cheerleaders.
I don't want to throw around the terms "bullying" or "harassment" lightly, although I think that this could be either or both of those things. But regardless, it's not right. It's like these people were never taught "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." That adage applies just as much on the Internet as anywhere else, in my opinion, but the Internt seems to be the place where we spew all of our meanest, most hurtful comments. Why do we feel the need to cut others down? To make ourselves feel better? To feel strong? Powerful? This world would be a much better place if we all tried to lift each other up instead of racing to see who can make the first mean comment.
In response to all of this, the cheerleader made a powerful, extremely classy YouTube video that I highly recommend. She is so strong and a wonderful example of the way to handle such an awful situation that no one should ever be put in.