British Columbia·Video

Ruby Roxx, plus-sized model, takes on online bullies who used her image

A plus-sized Vancouver model says a website called Project Harpoon's use of her image is more than just bullying: It's contributing to eating disorders, depression and anxiety.

Vancouver beauty editor says she was wasn't the only one bullied by Project Harpoon Facebook page

Ruby Roxx says she wasn't the only one bullied by Project Harpoon 1:14

A plus-size model from Vancouver who was the target of online harassment says the virtual attacks won't change her.

Ruby Roxx, also an editor of Beauty Mark Magazine, said a fan recently told her that she had been victimized by Project Harpoon — an internet group that takes photos of plus-size models, actresses and everyday people, and uses Photoshop to transform their images into sizes and shapes that group members consider more appealing.

Those bearing the brunt of these actions also often end up being the targets of hurtful comments posted online.

Project Harpoon took a modelling photo Roxx had posted and created an unrealistically thin version of her.

"The first thing I noticed was how badly the Photoshopping was done," she says. "They've really transformed these women into idealized forms of beauty. They've made their waists much smaller, and their arms much smaller and their legs much smaller, but their curves are still exactly the same, conveniently.

"It's completely unnatural."

Roxx says groups like Project Harpoon perpetuate unrealistic beauty standards for women, and contribute to eating disorders. She wrote in a blog post that being shamed on the Project Harpoon Facebook page worsened her anxiety and depression, and she was concerned about what it was doing to women less confident she is.

Decides to take on bullies

At first, Roxx tried to ignore the bullies and what they were doing to women. However, she eventually decided to act after receiving messages from women being shamed on the page or who resembled the women being targeted.

Left, a photo of Ruby Roxx. Right, the image edited by Project Harpoon. (rubyroxxmodel.com)

In a widely shared blog post, she wrote about moving past the bullying, and encouraged women to not let cyberbullies get them down.

"I wanted to turn a negative into a positive," she said. "Cyberbullying is not going away, but I think we need to help those affected by cyberbullying.

"I just wanted everyone to know that what we look like on the outside does not define us as people. We're no less valuable at 200 pounds as we are at 100 pounds."

Eventually, the actions of Roxx and others helped get the Project Harpoon page taken down from Facebook, but now the harassers have decentralized, sharing images on social media.

Roxx says that for now, she's keeping her eyes out for further unauthorized uses of her photos and reporting when she sees them.


To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled: Vancouver plus-sized model and beauty editor takes on trolls

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