When a 10-year-old girl chops off 14-inches of hair to make wigs for kids with cancer, plenty of adjectives come to mind: bold, generous, beautiful. But one word we’d never use to describe such an act, or such a child, is ugly.
Unfortunately for Jetta Fosberg, the Dayton, Ohio girl who cut her hair for cancer, ugly is the word she heard when she showed up at school rocking her charity-inspired pixie cut. Her mom, Heidi Fosberg, says Jetta was bullied for weeks before the family lodged a formal complaint with the school’s principal. But his suggestion that Jetta “toughen up and deal with it” was not exactly the response they were looking for, Fosberg told local news affiliate WHIO.
Then a friend of a family friend started the hashtag #standwithjetta, and after a few weeks gaining social media momentum, Jetta now stands at the centre of a global anti-bullying movement.
Support has poured in via the hashtag, through comments on Twitter, and on the Facebook page Stand With Jetta. As of Tuesday morning, the page had garnered over 46,000 likes, with commenters praising Jetta’s charity, decrying her bullying, and sharing stories of their own experiences with harassment, hair donations and cancer. Some commenters have even compared Jetta’s look to Charlize Theron’s, while others have suggested she consider a career in modelling. The #standwithjetta hashtag is also being used in tweets and posts directed at Ellen Degeneres, an anti-bullying advocate who frequently features bold young women like Jetta on her show.
Mom Heidi Fosberg was initially hesitant to set up the Facebook page, worrying that it might “be a bit much” but with fans voicing support from across the world, she’s now calling the experience “surreal.” As for Jetta, she told WHIO that “Knowing that there’s people who think that my haircut’s cute, and that they think I’m a good person, it helps me fight against [the bullies].”