When My Daughter Appeared in an 'Am I Beautiful?' Facebook Post Without My Consent


My 11-year-old daughter was born with a bleed in her brain and has cerebral palsy. She has had six brain surgeries and multiple major orthopedic surgeries on her hips, knee and Achilles’ tendons. She is truly my hero.

Today, she walks independently and often prefers to hold my hand. However, several years ago she was still learning to walk with crutches and long braces up her legs. It was at this time that an online publication wrote an article about my daughter after we were wrongly detained by the TSA.

facebook post of young girl with cerebral palsy asking Am I beautiful
Marcy’s daughter in the Facebook post.

I was shocked to find a photo from that article shared on Facebook recently by someone I don’t know as one of the “Am I beautiful? Type ‘Yes and Amen’” posts. I’ll admit that I’ve seen these before and haven’t given them much thought — however, my friend saw my daughter and called me. I thought there was no way it was my child, but when I saw the post my heart broke. I didn’t ask for this, and I certainly didn’t give my consent. How does a complete stranger have the right to use my daughter’s photo for this purpose? The post as of today has received 33,000 comments, 61,000 likes and 3,900 shares.

A few of my immediate thoughts that day:

1. This must be removed ASAP.

The privacy settings on Facebook control content that you have posted, but it is impossible to stop predators from copying pictures of our children that appear anywhere online. I attempted to remove the post by filing an online complaint that my minor daughter’s privacy rights had been violated without our consent. I never received a response from Facebook, but within 24 hours the item was removed. It was shared so many times before this though that I believe it’s probably still in circulation.

2. Facebook should have a responsibility to stop these posts.

Social media is wonderful when you want to share pictures of your kids, but it can be a massive black hole when someone else posts a picture. I felt completely helpless. I do not see any upside for Facebook to allow this type of piracy to continue.

3. Do not comment about (even “Amen”) or share pictures of children with disabilities.

You don’t know the whole story. You aren’t familiar with the parent’s perspective or the reason the photo was taken in the first place. This is exploitation. These children may be suffering or embarrassed about their condition. “Amens” on Facebook are not going to help.

4. My daughter doesn’t need pity.

My daughter is an amazing child. She is consistently making progress in areas we never expected. She loves school, loves dance class and her iPad and can’t wait to go to camp this summer.

The Mighty is asking the following: Describe a meme, image or sign you’ve seen shared online that struck a chord with you, for good or for bad. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Cerebral Palsy

To Myself Before My Daughter Was Diagnosed With Cerebral Palsy

I think everyone would agree that the worst thing about waiting is the not knowing. It can be torturous holding your breath until that moment comes, but ultimately you’d have a better sense of peace if you knew how long you had to wait, right? So if I knew that I just had to wait [...]

The One Word I'd Rather Not Be Called as a Person With Cerebral Palsy

When you’re disabled, the first thing you may notice each day is that you’re “different.” You may recognize it when someone else puts your clothes on and does tasks like taking you to the bathroom and brushing your teeth. However, you may also recognize that if you bring a positive attitude to society, people respect you [...]

Girl With Cerebral Palsy Fights for Disability Representation in the Media

Emily Prior noticed something missing in the catalogs she owned. “Why aren’t there children like me in these?” she asked her mom last July. Jen Prior didn’t quite know how to answer the question. “[It] was hard to answer truthfully, as realistically, society doesn’t see disability as beautiful,” Prior told The Mighty in an email. [...]

To the Woman at Target Whose Daughter Was Curious About My Cerebral Palsy

I saw you in the Tupperware aisle and couldn’t stop smiling at your daughter sitting in the shopping cart. Her hair was pulled back into braids, and I smiled as her braids twirled from side to side as she looked around, taking in the wonder of the world around her. You were looking at lunch [...]