Former Green Bay Packers cheerleader, Kaitlyn Collins, appeared yesterday, Feb. 11, on the Today show to speak about her recent fight against cyber-bullying. Her counter-attack started last week after a photo of the former cheerleader appeared on an unofficial Chicago Bears fan site on facebook. The photo contained the caption: "Like if you agree the Packers have the worst cheerleaders in the NFL!"
The picture got many 'likes' as well as many comments, many too inappropriate to list here, but all with the overall theme on Collins' physical appearance. Some of the permissable comments include: "Doesn't get any uglier." "Truly an eyesore." "Fugly." and "Packers fans don't eat, they graze."
With such unsettling and inappropriate comments, Collins was obviously upset and offended, but decided to respond directly to the attackers, by uploading a youtube video with her reply. She does not say a word in the video, but holds up handwritten signs to the background music of Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up."
However, Collins not only spends time on the negative comments, but also sincerely thanks the Chicago Bears fans who defended her. One such comment stated "I am a big Bears fan, but tonight I am very disappointed. This is a low shot. She is not made up to look like a movie star, but she is a lovely young lady. It is wrong to be so cruel."
Collins credited her strong support system of family and friends to get through an attack like this, but she also inferred that not everyone has that support system and what would they do in response to bullying like this. However, at the close of the video, Collins stated that despite petitions to Facebook and the unofficial Chicago Bears fan group, the picture of her with its monstrous comments had not been removed, because they did not feel it counted as bullying. She asked her audience to help use their voices to remove it.
Her audience did not disappoint. Now with over 900,000 views, the video has gained enough attention to shame the administrator of the Facebook group into removing the picture. In her appearance on the Today show, she spoke out about it verbally:
"We all struggle with body images and especially in today’s society, for somebody to go online and type those kinds of things, out of a picture of mine out for everybody to see, it was very hurtful."
It is admirable for Collins to take a stand not only for herself, but also for the voiceless multitude who are victims of cyber-bullying every day. It needs to stop.