The Problem With That "Human SpongeBob" Image

A 3D artist's work has Twitter shook, and it's not for a good reason.
Miguel Vasquez decided to recreate what he envisioned SpongeBob SquarePants characters would look like if they were actual people. Unsurprisingly, the internet wasn't on board with the human SpongeBob imagery.
Twitter users were quick to chime in with criticisms about the characters' looks. And BuzzFeed called the renderings "pretty fucking terrifying."
First of all, there's the obvious issue here: SpongeBob and Patrick were never supposed to be humans. They exist in a fictional world where a sea sponge, a starfish, a squirrel, and a crab are all roughly the same size. Of course they don't resemble a typical human!
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But the second issue here is more distressing. The crux of the "joke" about the characters' appearance is that they're scary or ugly because they don't look like most people we see every day. If laughing at this is okay, where is the line drawn?
Yes, there probably aren't people who look like these exact renderings. But there are plenty of people with physical deformities who do exist in the world, and most of us could stand to be a lot more compassionate towards them. Calling this image "scary" promotes the idea that people who are different should be feared, and that's not okay.
Just yesterday, mom Mary Katherine Backstrom shared a video on Facebook that's now gone viral. Backstrom explained that while shopping in Target, she witnessed a group of teenagers mocking a man with physical deformities, including staples in his head.
This isn't a dig at Vasquez, who apparently likes creating humanized versions of a variety of cartoon characters. But with viral images like these, we should think about why they're "funny" and why people are sharing them.
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