Fierce

People Said A Writer Was Too Ugly To Take Selfies And Now She’s Getting Support From Twitter, News Outlets, And Even Brazil

Being a woman with a public voice makes you a target to trolls — especially when you’re criticizing powerful men and even more when you live with a disability. Case in point: Melissa Blake. The freelance journalist published a critical piece about President Donald Trump on CNN last week, and instead of commenting on the content of her article, people — mostly men — on the Internet bullied the writer for her appearance.

 

Blake has the genetic bone and muscle disorder called Freeman-Sheldon.

 Syndromes affect the mouth, face, hands, and feet and recently she was inundated with tweets from people calling her “ugly” and “fat,” referring to her as “it” and comparing her to a potato and a blobfish.

One cruel commenter even suggested she should be banned from posting pictures of herself online because of her appearance. For Blake, that remark was the last straw — and an invitation for defiance.

“I thought, well, I’m going to do the opposite and show them that they’re not going to get the better of me,” Blake, 38, told BBC

In response to the bullying, the DeKalb, Illinois-based woman posted three selfies, grinning at all her haters.

“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,” she tweeted Sunday alongside the photos.

The inspiring message has gone viral, with nearly 26 thousand retweets and more than 273 thousand likes at the time of writing. People all over the Internet have been celebrating Blake’s retort. Some have called her a “goddess” and a “bad bitch.”

Latinas are also among her fans. Melissa Aguilera showered Blake with compliments, saying, “from one Melissa to another. You’re beautiful.” While Mila Gonzalez offered a bit of advice: “Fuck the haters! You look happy in the selfies. I love that!”

Blake told the Chicago Tribune that the massive support was “beyond anything I could have imagined — and quite overwhelming.”

“I posted the tweet on Saturday night and didn’t expect this huge response at all,” she said. “But I’m so glad that it’s resonating with people and to have something so positive come out of those nasty, negative comments is such a joy!”

The extreme torment followed by international support resembles the story of Lizzie Velásquez. In 2006, the Austin, Texas-based motivational speaker and author was dubbed the “World’s Ugliest Woman” in a video posted on YouTube. Velásquez, who was just 17 years old at the time, lives with a non-terminal rare condition called Marfanoid–progeroid–lipodystrophy syndrome, which, among other symptoms, prevents her from accumulating body fat and gaining weight. Inspired to speak out against bullying and share her story, she co-authored “Lizzie Beautiful: The Lizzie Velásquez Story” with her mother in 2010.

Like Velásquez, Blake is also refusing to stay silent and allow bullies to win. The writer, who later posted screenshots of some of the mean things Internet users have told her in the past, took the moment to highlight that vile criticism of her looks isn’t new. By now, she says, being judged on her appearance during her 14-year-career as a journalist is something she’s “come to expect.”

“I find this is something a lot of women who put themselves out there face — they are subject to visual attacks,” she told the newspaper.

In addition to the loving community that has come from her response to cyberbullying, her cheerful defiance might also have a positive impact on her career.

Since her viral tweet, she’s been interviewed by mainstream national and international news outlets and even received an email from a book publisher.

The writer, who graduated from Northern Illinois University with a journalism degree in 2005, has published articles about disability, relationships and pop culture in the New York Times, Glamour and Cosmopolitan. Additionally, she runs a blog called So About What I Said, which has a tagline that reads: “Smart is the new sexy, awkward is the new cool, flawed is the new beautiful.”

Despite all the attention, Blake shares that not much has changed in her life. Ultimately, she wants to highlight the abuse women who dare to have a voice on the Internet experience. 

“I’m getting so tired of people (read: men) thinking it’s OK to insult a woman’s appearance. Yes, my disability makes me look different. Trust me, I know that. I’ve known that my entire life,” she said in a blog post.

Blake continued: “And 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.”

Read: Get a Box of Tissues Before You Read This Woman’s Brave Fight Against Bullying

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From Castor Oil To Fermented Rice Water, Latinas Are Sharing Their Hair Growth Secrets

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From Castor Oil To Fermented Rice Water, Latinas Are Sharing Their Hair Growth Secrets

Ken Harding / Getty

When it comes to growing the hair on our head quickly, some of us take all kinds of desperate measures. From hanging our heads upside down to avoiding trimming our hair altogether, we often go to some pretty weird and extreme lengths for some length. We asked Latinas on FIERCE what tricks actually work for them and the answers pretty eye-opening.

Check out the tips below!

Castor oil

“Jamaican Castor oil. But it really did help with my alopecia.” – corazondemelon

Ashwagandha

“Take Ashwagandha as a supplement! I started taking for anxiety but a nice side effect is more healthy hair.” –iamsunshine78

Regular trims when it’s a full moon

“Trim/cut ends during full moon, ideally at midnight (I can’t stay up that late so as close as I can get).” – daleitzy

Coconut oil

“Jamaican castor/coconut oil when your hair is super dirty and a couple of hours before you wash it. Then argan oil after you have washed your hair and it’s still wet or damp.” –angiemhrndz

Rice water

“Fermented rice water.” – butterflydreams__

Prenatals

“Shampoo de ajo and prenatals.”- cynth.iaaa_

Collagen powder

“Collagen powder (unflavored) in my coffee every morning!” – pandacandee

Onions

“Rosemary water and onion hair mask.” –daniela.sp

Wild growth hair oil

“Wild growth hair oil you can find this oil at any beauty supply store.” –bonita_mantiago

Biotin

“Taking biotin pills daily.” – officialdarlin

Mayonaise

“Mayo in my deep conditioner i make my own makes my hair so soft.” –erika_kane__

Monat products

“Great hair care! Good for your scalp and hair and it’s already what you do. Monat has great shampoos, conditioners, styling products that are nontoxic, cruelty free, vegan. Would love to help anyone interested with recommendations.” – claudia__moreno__

Avocados

“My mamá always said that eating lots of avocados would promote hair and nail growth. Tbh I think it definitely helps!” – mandamonqiue

Rosemary

“A blended hair serum with Olive oil, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Oregano, Tea Tree Oil, Peppermint oil.” – thekittylounge

Spinach

“Spinach helps my hair grow.” – natalidamasphoto

Apple cider

“I have to add that garlic works magic and apple cider after washing your hair. And not washing your hair everyday with hot water.” – bonita_mantiago

Mamey oil

“I highly recommended castor oil, mamey oil, and ginger and onion 🧅 in the shampoo. They all work magic if you consistently apply them to your hair.” – bonita_mantiago

Olive oil

“Olive oil in your hair for shine and growth & mayonnaise mask to help with hydration and shine!” – d_amoree

Braids

“Braiding your hair before bed.” – veixaley

Cold-pressed oils

“Both my parents have thin hair my dad is bald! I have thin hair it’s in my genes. But these are the things I have tried that didn’t work cold-pressed castor oil, prenatal pills, not washing daily, biotin, collagen, mane and tail, tio nacho shampoo and I’m sure there is more. I started using Monat about 4 months ago and my hair has thickened and grown yes it’s super expensive I use the black shampoo and conditioner the mousse and hair spray and occasionally the root lifter if I want more volume!! NO I don’t sell it!! And I already have a person I buy it from!!! Again it’s hella expensive but it is working for me! Also when you first get it be patient cause I was like this stuff sucks I want my money back but the agent just keep saying give it time cause at first the shampoo didn’t even sud up now it does and if you are still using other products with them it won’t sud up as much either cause it is trying to remove the toxins from your hair!!!” – cindy_adame_cervantes

Fewer shampoo days

“Stop over-washing your hair. This quarantine has allowed the to go longer days without washing it. Now I only was my hair once a week and my hair has stopped falling in chunks and grown so much in length in a year. Ohhh I also have so much new baby hair! Waiiiit and my hair is less oily. Dry shampoo will be your new bestie.” –

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Sweet & Empowering Tattoo Ideas For The Latina Who Loves Herself

Fierce

Sweet & Empowering Tattoo Ideas For The Latina Who Loves Herself

Handout / Getty

With so many types of tattoos out there, it can be easy to feel like its hard to find something unique. Especially when it comes to paying tribute to your Latinidad. Fortunately, we dug around Instagram and found some of the sweetest and hilarious tattoos that are perfect for Latinas.

Check them out below!

This one that has all of our names written all over it

For tequila and Grey’s Anatomy fans

And another tequila tattoo for good measure

For the spikey and sweet agave lover

This tattoo is perfect for Cubanas who love café

For la rosa at heart

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🌹 #tattoo #rosetattoo

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For the freedom fighter

These Taíno inspired tattoos

And these beautiful tattoos for Boricuas

For the rum lover

For the lovely minimalist with pride

And of course for the Frida fan

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