Teenager Lynelle Cantwell Was Voted One Of The "Ugliest Girls" At School & Reacted In The Best Of Ways
It was like something out of a teen movie, where bullies in high school banded together and decided who's hot and who's not. At Holy Trinity Regional High School in Torbay, Newfoundland, a handful of students created a ranking of the "ugliest girls" in school, including Lynelle Cantwell . Horrifying as that sounds, it gets worse. The poll, posted on Straw Poll, invited other students to vote for the least "pretty" students, making the whole thing a school-wide affair. According to MTV News, Cantwell decided to take this as an opportunity to speak about self-acceptance and self-love upon hearing that she ranked fourth from the bottom, refusing to let the hurtful actions of others change the way she saw or felt about herself.
Cantwell took to Facebook to give her bullies a message, and the response has inspired people to the point of being shared over 5,000 times. She told BuzzFeed Canada, "I felt hurt, like really really hurt. Not gonna lie, it tore me apart a little bit.” But instead of reacting with anger, she instead wanted to spread the knowledge of what real beauty is: Sticking up not only for the other girls that fell on the list, but for anybody else who has ever been hurt by careless words and unfeeling actions.
Cantell decided to list all of the beautiful parts of herself that the list-makers missed, pointing out, "I’m funny, nice, kind, down to earth, not judgmental, accepting, helpful, and I'm super easy to talk to. That's the same for every other girl on that list that you all put down."
If that wasn't enough to put them in their place, she ended it with the wise message of, "Just because we don’t look perfect on the outside does not mean we are ugly. If that's your idea of ugly then I feel sorry for you."
When BuzzFeed Canada asked why she responded in that way, Cantwell answered, “I wanted the person who posted it to know what they did doesn’t affect me. I wanted to let them know they don’t know me as a person, they don’t know what I’m about, they’re not going to bring me down by one anonymous post.”
This brave young woman's actions prove that even when you are hurt, you can still react with love. And even if someone tries to tear you down, it's your decision whether to fall or not.
To inspire you to stay strong no matter who tries to bring you down, here are three other times bullies got put back in their place through beautiful and inspiring counter arguments.
1. When A Community Stuck Up For One Of Its Own
When Tennessee teen Kristen Layne got bullied online, her community stuck up for her in a beautiful way. When she posted on the Facebook group “For Sale in Sumner County, TN,” she was just hoping to sell her junior prom dress to get funds to buy a new one for senior year. But she was shocked and hurt when two male aggressors took it upon themselves to bully her, calling the smiling girl in her prom dress "unattractive."
The members of the group were horrified by the bullying, and quickly stood up in her defense, telling the men to stop, praising her for the way she handled herself, and telling her to pay no mind and that she's beautiful. On top of that, they started a GoFundMe campaign called “Kristen's Senior Prom Dress” and raised over $2,000. The kindness of strangers, man.
2. When A Victim Chose To Educate & Not Punish
When recent high school graduate Gavin Joseph was beaten up by bullies for being "weird" and "creepy" because of his Asperger’s Syndrome, he decided to respond in a beautifully forgiving way. Instead of pressing charges, he requested that his attackers become educated about Asperger’s and do community service to help others with disabilities.
He wanted to get to the root of their problem — ignorance and fear — instead of punishing them, with the hopes that understanding would change their reactions towards future people they meet with disabilities.
3. When The Bullied Decided To Own It
When 14-year-old Carleigh O'Connell found out that a couple of bullies decided to label a large cement rock as "Carleigh's ass," O'Connell decided to roll with it. Instead of feeling body-conscious and down, she climbed on top of the rock in her bikini bottoms and gave a wide smile over her shoulder.
O'Connell told TODAY.com, "The biggest message I want to get across is just to be strong, and that anyone who is experiencing bullying and anything like that, that they're not alone and there's people there for them — and I'm one of them."
All of this goes to show that even when we feel hurt over people's mean words, we can still make something beautiful come out of it.
Image: Pix 11 News/YouTube