When I first saw this photo of this man dancing, my heart hurt. Here he was, happily dancing to the beat – until he noticed someone taking his photo, and he stopped. His body language in the second photo? It just crushes me.
Some days, the power of the technology we hold in our hands has such a negative effect.
Fortunately, the story does not end there. After he was body-shamed, and the image was posted on Imgur by FrozenBadger telling off the people who did it on 4Chan? A group of body-positive women in California swooped in with a plan.
“I decided to tweet it and our offer in the hopes if he did see it, he would see something positive instead of a bunch of people upset,” Cassandra Fairbanks, aka @CassandraRules told Buzzfeed.
The invitation that they offered him? Restores my faith in the good that is in the world.
Over time, he was found – his name is Sean, and is now on Twitter as well, as @DancingManFound.
A GoFundMe page was set up to bring him to Los Angeles for the dance party, but the even better part? All the stories that have come out about bullying, and the fact that all of the extra money will be donated to anti-bullying charities in the United States and the United Kingdom.
It Doesn’t Stop There Though
As happy as all of that makes me, looking at the photos that kicked off this chain of events this past week has me thinking.
Great that thousands are coming together to throw a party for one man.
What about the bigger picture though? We, as a society, are still pretty messed up. One dance party doesn’t stop that.
There are still websites like People of WalMart out there. “What Not to Wear” features in magazines. If you look at the movies, the fat friend is almost always the “buddy” and never the star. And if we are really honest with ourselves, while we might not have taken the photos and posted them on the internet? We still might have cast a sideways glance at a stranger dancing at a club and wondered what they were thinking.
What right do they have to be dancing? To be wearing that outfit? To be behaving that way?
Let me be clear – I am not innocent here. Oh no, not at all. I really wish I could say that I didn’t do it, but I am standing here, guilty. I’ve asked a friend, “what were they thinking?” about how someone looks. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve done it within the past month.
I hate myself for it every time I catch myself doing it. It goes against everything I stand for, and yet I feel like it is such a common part of our culture, we have become conditioned to do it without a second thought.
What if we changed that? Whenever I think something negative about a stranger, to break the cycle, I plan to walk up and compliment them. Find something good to say, and actually say it.
This is going to be my challenge for myself, because I truly believe there is something beautiful in everyone. We just have to stop and look for it. Stop being so critical of one another. You do not know their story, or what they are going through.
What we do have is the opportunity to make their day brighter, to say something positive, and to bring some joy in to their world.
Will you join me on this? Lets see if we can do something that makes an impact that goes far beyond a dance party?
I know it is a crazy idea. It will push me out of my comfort zone. I am pretty sure that is a good thing. Whatever it takes to break this horrible behavior.
Let me know what you think in the comments, and if you would be so kind? Please SHARE this. Use the buttons below, Pin this image to Pinterest, whatever works for you. Just help spread the word. XOXOXOXO