Kit Steinkellner
January 13, 2015 9:48 am

Today, we were reminded of two things: The insane cruelty of Internet bullies, and the power of standing up for yourself.

Kristen Layne, an 18-year old high school student in Tennessee, who wore a kick-ass sparkly purple ball gown to her junior prom, a dress that “made her feel like a princess,” decided to sell it on Facebook and posted a picture and description of the dress to the “For Sale in Sumner County, TN” group page.

What should have been all business got personal (and straight-up MEAN) when two men in the group started making fun of Layne’s body in the comments section of the post. (Seriously, what is wrong with people?)

“I was trying to sell my prom dress, and these two men were just saying some very hateful things, just telling me I was fat and that I wasn’t beautiful,” Layne explained to WSMV-TV, a local news station that first reported the story.

“I didn’t understand why people who didn’t even know her lashed out at her,” her father, Jason Layne, added.

It is hard to imagine why anyone in the world would take to social media to be cruel re: the way a teenage girl looks or make fun of a high schooler’s prom dress. I will never understand the depths of darkness that lie within the heart of an Internet troll.

The good news is that rather than crawl under her bed (which is what I do every time someone is mean to me on the Internet), Layne faced her bullies head on and gave them a what for.

“Can you please stop with the comments?” she wrote on the Facebook thread, according to the news channel. “Sorry that I’m not pleasing to your eye.”

Her dad was super proud of her, because her dad is clearly the awesomest:

“I think it’s going to be a positive impact, I really do, because she stands up for herself,” Layne told WSMV-TV. “Life is not a bed of roses, it’s hard.”

Sometimes, it helps to lean on the good people of the Internet—they’re out there, too.  Immediately after the trolls started trolling, other members of the group jumped in to defend Layne. One poster wrote, “It’s obvious this woman is beautiful, inside and out.” Another commented that Layne’s dress “looks absolutely stunning.”

The community rallied around Layne, her post received more than 400 likes, and those who have heard her story have contributed more than $400 to buy her a new dress, according to NBC News.

As disgusted as we are with the Facebook haters that tried their best to bully Layne, we can’t help but be touched that Layne’s champions FAR FAR FAR outnumbered her trolls. It’s also pretty amazing how Layne stood up for herself so gracefully and didn’t let the commenters get her down. Whether she knew it at the time or not, she sent a powerful message—not just to the haters, but to all of us—that confidence and standing up for yourself is a truly brave and beautiful thing.

(Image via WSMV-TV)

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