Alana Thompson is a 10-year-old girl from McIntyre, Ga. Her favorite color is pink, she loves chicken nuggets, and she has such a hilariously unfiltered sense of humor that she landed her own reality show before she lost all her baby teeth. Otherwise known as “Honey Boo Boo,” Thompson shot to fame after becoming the breakout star on Toddlers and Tiaras, a series following beauty pageant contestants behind the scenes prepping for competitions. While her life is in the spotlight, that doesn’t discount the fact that she’s still just a kid. So the reality that a meme is currently being circulated fat-shaming her is pretty despicable.
First spotted on the Instagram page @girlwithnojob, the image shows Thompson lifting up her shirt and showing off her stomach to the camera in a snapshot taken from an interview she gave on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. The text reads: “Summer is coming … crap.”
It should be noted that Claudia Oshry, the woman who curates @girlwithnojob, did not create the post herself, and she wrote in the caption, “She looks pretty good tbh.” The image has been circulating around the Internet for some time, yet Oshry is the first with such a large readership — she boasts 2 million followers — to publicize it. In the short time the post has been live, it’s amassed more than 30,000 likes and 15,000 comments, many of which are from individuals tagging their friends as a source of fitspo.
Regardless of who originated the meme or how users are interacting with it, the fact that a child — even one in the public eye — is being subjected to this kind of negative body talk is pretty alarming. Sure, the entire Thompson family has found success by willingly submitting themselves to be laughed at by the TV-watching American public, but that’s no excuse for appropriating an adolescent’s image for a laugh.
Thompson has already experienced the dark side of fame and body image. Abby Lee Miller, the Dance Moms matriarch, admitted to TMZ a few years ago that Honey Boo Boo “needs to get in shape. She needs to be at a dance studio. She needs to be training. She needs to work on her turnout.” In 2015, on an episode of The Doctors, the hosts staged an “intervention” for Thompson’s mother, “Mama June” Shannon, instructing her that she needed to get her daughter’s weight under control. Additionally, hundreds — possibly thousands — of GIFs, clips, and pics from the reality series have been adopted for jokes at Thompson’s expense.
The meme might serve as inspiration for young co-eds to cut their caloric intake in order to look better in a bikini, but it certainly doesn’t help Thompson. In fact, a study showed that being labeled fat doesn’t spur weight loss.
So maybe don’t fat-shame a kid — or anyone, for that matter.