A young plus-sized woman who posted a photo online of herself in her underwear is now finding herself at the center of a firestorm of criticism for promoting obesity -- though plenty have also jumped to her defense.
New York University student Stella Boonshoft decided to photograph herself in only a black bra and underpants and put it on her Tumblr account, The Body Love Blog. Sounds simple enough, but any woman who doesn’t feel like she has the perfect body knows this was no simple feat.
Surprisingly, the image of Stella Boonshoft in her bikini underwear has sparked a debate about body image. Many people are congratulating Stella for being inspirational while others are lambasting her for glorifying obesity.
That single photo has gone viral thanks to a photographer she befriended who chose to publish the image -- and what it represents -- last week on Facebook. The photo and what Stella wrote along with it -- a poetic diatribe to all those who have made her feel bad about her size that culminates with "THIS IS MY BODY, DEAL WITH IT" -- have inspired young girls and women everywhere because she has finally accepted herself. It's not about saying being overweight is a good thing, it's about saying "just because I am not perfect does not mean that I am not perfectly okay."
I hope my girls never know what it is like to be overweight or obese, but if they do, I hope they love themselves enough to see past the body and through to the soul. They are beautiful.
I don't know about you but, as a woman who pretty much looks exactly like this in my own bikini right now and has compared myself to the models in the magazines since I was old enough to turn the pages, Stella's blog gives me hope. Not hope that being fat will become accepted. No one who is overweight really wants to be, but they shouldn’t be punished for not being perfect either. We all have feelings, whether we're obese, plus-sized, average, or thin. Why not a little promotion of the acceptance of individuality?
I am inspired by her tenacity and proud to know that there are women out there who are trying to change the status quo. I don’t want to live in a world where it's accepted that people are unhealthy, but the fact of the matter is that we come in all shapes and sizes. I want better for my girls. I want to raise my daughters in a world where it's okay to love yourself even if you are not a size 0. We need more role models who embrace themselves instead of hating themselves for not conforming to some impossible standard of beauty.
Stella's blog posting under the photo begins:
'WARNING: Picture might be considered obscene because subject is not thin. And we all know that only skinny people can show their stomachs and celebrate themselves. Well I’m not going to stand for that. This is my body. Not yours. MINE. Meaning the choices I make about it are none of your f****** business. Meaning my size is none of your f****** business."
I wish there were more women like Stella Boonshoft in the world. What do you think of her putting her half-naked photo on the Internet in the name of self-acceptance?
Image via The Body Love Blog