By Nidhi Kinhal
The Internet finds many unacceptable things really hilarious. Take this meme, for example. It features three female weather reporters with conventional body types, and the fourth, who’s supposed to be the “oh look, fat ugly woman” punchline. How tasteful.
However, the real joke’s on the person who made the meme, and all those who shared, giggled, forwarded and forgot to call it out for blatantly sexualising women, and sexist body-shaming. Turns out, the woman in the fourth panel is El Salvador’s first female meteorologist, Sandra Yanira Martínez Tobar, who spotted the meme floating around on social media, and took to Facebook with a graceful, badass response to it. Translated by Latina from Spanish, her post said, “I’m sharing the first meme of me that’s been going around on social media. I find it funny and can’t stop laughing… a lot. When I was younger, I was good looking too, and when they’re 60 years old, I hope they’ll look just as good as me, and proud of it.” I suspect she was just pleasing the meteor-sized egos of people take pride in nonsense, but really, their ‘sense of humour’ was shown its place when she added, “For your information: I have spent twenty years building my career at the United States Department of Commerce. I’m an accredited senior meteorologist, with specialisation in aeronautics, hydro-meteorology, and marine weather forecasting. And now I do weather forecasts. BUT THANKS FOR MY FIRST MEME, I LIKE A LOT. HAHAHAHAHAHA.”
What’s better is that in a conversation with AJ+, she slammed this unhealthy culture, and said, “A woman is more than just her body, right? She is mind and heart.” And this sort of thing is everywhere. Ever noticed the recent flow of racist, sexist and body-shaming “tag a friend” “shaadi karungi toh sirf *insert name* se” (I will only marry *insert name*) memes? Or this latest one, that publicly humiliates a real couple, and glorifies online creepiness? We often forget that people on and behind the internet are just as real as us, often like Sandra with achievements and personalities. Which isn’t to say that decency and respect should hinge on those things, why should anyone be subjected to stereotyping and judgement?
Sandra’s being in itself is an answer to such frivolous thinking, and we’re all cheers.