Entertainment vs body shaming: Ntando Duma 'mocked' in alien meme

19 January 2017 - 17:13 By Karishma Thakurdin

Actress and TV personality Ntando Duma is the latest celebrity to be 'ridiculed' and 'body shamed' through an alien meme currently being circulated online.

Social media users grabbed a picture of Ntando and compared her to the aliens that featured in the Men In Black blockbuster movie. The image has since gone viral and again highlighted the issue of entertainment vs body shamming.

Speaking to TshisaLIVE Ntando said that while she understood the "entertainment aspect" of the meme, she would never allow herself to be affected by people's judgement of her.

"I've learnt that not everyone will like you and no matter what you do (good or bad) they will always have something to say or want to bring you down," Ntando said.

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The actress said she has developed a thick skin and has a good sense of humour when it comes to these kind of situations around her appearance.

"This (the meme) is one of those expected things that I've gotten used to. No matter what happens we know it's going to happen. I never have and never will allow people to try to belittle me because of what I do," she explained.

Ntando went on to explain that she's learnt not to take things too seriously despite the situation. "Everything that I do, I do it for myself and if you're not impressed by it, that's absolutely fine as long as I am happy."

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Ntando is not the first high-profile celebrity to be mocked by social media trolls.

Radio and TV personality Unathi Msengana has been targeted by trolls on a regular basis in the past. 

During a recent incident, Unathi was ridiculed for not wearing makeup. Trolls compared a picture of the radio host with makeup and another one without.

The meme that went viral poked fun at Unathi and implied that she had 'mutated' when sprayed with insect repellent.

Not one to mince her words, Unathi expressed anger over the meme.  "How do we respect you South Africa when you do this," she said at the time.

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While most memes are viewed as entertaining and funny- what message is being sent through them?

The debate of body shaming also comes into play.

Counselling psychologist Debbie Bright weighs in on the debate, labelling such memes as "damaging".

"My sense is that such body shaming memes are as damaging as any racist, sexiest or homophobic sterotyping. Physical appearance shaming appears to still be somewhat less taboo though, and removal of such remains the next frontier in growth as a society and a community," she said.

Bright said social media played an important role in  "alienating" people from each other.

"With modern technology and social media, we become more and more alienated from each other and more anonymous behind handles. Hiding behind screens scaffolds this," she said.