real life

This 13-year-old girl became a viral internet meme and no one stood up for her.

A few weeks ago a clip from the Dr Phil show went viral.

A new meme started dominating Facebook news feeds. Friends started commenting “Cash me outside. How bah dah,” on social media posts.

Social media users gleefully shared the meme, had a laugh, and moved on with their lives without giving it a second thought.

As far as scores of people were concerned 13-year-old Danielle, who has been dubbed the ‘How Bah Dah’ girl, was just a thing on the internet. A funny viral meme that gave everyone something to talk about at the water cooler.

Danielle appeared on the Dr Phil show in September last year. She was a tough, street smart teenager who stole credit cards and cars, and got into physical fights. She had a strange accent, she was angry and she challenged the Dr Phil audience, calling them ‘hoes’.

dr phil meme
She was just a kid, barely a teenager. Image via Dr Phil.

Despite what you think about the Dr Phil show and whether it actually helps people, 13-year-old Danielle was a teenager in crisis, and after the show aired, adults from all over the world banded together to bully her.

Sure, Danielle was no angel. Her mother had taken her on the Dr Phil show as a last ditch effort to curb her dangerous and illegal behaviour, but she was just 13 years old. She was just a kid, barely a teenager.

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How many people thought about that before they hit share? How many parents thought about their own teenage daughters before hitting 'like'?

I didn't. I laughed and then forgot about it. It was only in the last couple of days when I noticed Danielle pop up in my news feed again that I gave her a second thought.

It's been announced that Danielle will be returning to the Dr Phil show. And people and media outlets are ecstatic about it. There's a sense of excitement that this 13-year-old girl could generate a new meme for us. A new little distraction from our day to day lives. Something new to post on Facebook during our daily commute.

Here's the thing, in different circumstances this kind of mob mentality would be called out for what it actually is - BULLYING.

If a bunch of teenagers shared a video of one of their classmates online and relentlessly mocked them, we'd be horrified.

If a group of teenage girls ganged up on someone in the playground, we'd call for their expulsion.

If our daughter, sister, niece or friend was treated like this - we'd go out to bat for them. But no one stood up for 13-year-old Danielle.

And this is not a new concept to us. We know that there are real people behind our favourite internet memes.

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Recently Jennifer Knapp Wilkinson, the woman behind a hurtful 'People of Walmart' meme, came out to tell the real story behind that infamous photo.

dr phil meme
"I thought nothing of it cause I am used to hearing people make fun of me or saying snide remarks. It was nothing new." Image supplied.

"I have a condition in my spine called spondylolisthesis. In spondylolisthesis, one of the bones in your spine — called a vertebra — slips forward and out of place. This may occur anywhere along the spine, but is most common in the lower back (lumbar spine)," she wrote.

"I was at a very low point in my mental health. I also was experiencing a lot of pain and weakness that day. I took a cart because I was grocery shopping for my family. I went to get a case of soda for my husband (He drinks this stuff by the gallons) and I turn and tried to grab a case off the shelf and the cart tipped. I thought I saw a flash of light and heard some young girls giggling. I thought nothing of it cause I am used to hearing people make fun of me or saying snide remarks. It was nothing new," she added.

The Year We Filmed Everything on Mamamia Out Loud. 

Wouldn't it be great if we could see memes for what they actually are - real people who are going through a tough time?

Wouldn't it be great if we saw Danielle as a 13-year-old who needs support?

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