'Obese' Student's Photo in Bikini Underwear Sparks Outrage but Gives Many Women Hope

Inspiring 206

stella boonshoft

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

body image, self esteem


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nonmember avatar Kristi

She's not promoting anything but the idea that whatever your size you have to love yourself. You can't go around in a state of self hatred because you're heavy/fat/obese/too skinny/pimply/pigeon toed. Maybe you're happy with your size and don't want to change it, maybe you're working on it, but either way it's destructive to hate yourself and leads to so many more issues.

riadolph riadolph

You know what? I wish I was as confident as this young woman is with my own body!! She's got the best body image for a young person that I've seen in a long time!! It's refreshing to see someone that's totally comfortable in their own skin and isn't trying to make themselves look like the stereotypical image of beautiful. YOU GO GIRL!!!!

Cayla... CaylaChristine

I have a really hard time with this subject because there is such a fine line between self-acceptance and obesity acceptance. It IS perfectly okay and healthy for her to love herself and keep her confidence high, but it's not okay to say/insinuate that being overweight is acceptable. That's not to say that people should be attacking her about her size, either. Bullying people into losing weight is what causes eating disorders and low self-esteem. Instead, they should be encouraged to lose the weight because it is imperative to their health and quality of life.

Lovin... LovinJerseyMama

It's one thing to promote obesity, because it is not okay to be unhealthy. But it's a completely different thing to do what this young woman has, she's finally accepting herself as she is. There are many healthy, curvy women out there who are way healthier than any stick thin models. And vice versa. Healthy doesn't choose a size. It's how you eat and live your life. When i was younger I used to do drugs, drink and eat like an Ahole but was thin and "sexy". Now I'm a mom of two who eats healthy 5 days out of the week and runs around with her kids every day but I could stand to lose fifty pounds. But I'm happier now then I was back then. Because I've accepted myself. Because I'm happy being able to go out to dinner with my family or indulge in an ice cream every once in awhile with my kids. Yes, I could lose those fifty pounds. But I'd constantly be stressing about every little calorie and watching every little thing I ate. One day, when my kids can take better care of themselves then I will take better care of myself. Until then, I want to enjoy every minute of my days. Whether I'm eating fried pickles or laying around watching cartoons with them :)

Habib... Habibti812

I don't want to see anyone in their underwear. I don't care what size they are. Truly appreciating your body is respecting it. Your body is a temple people.

nonmember avatar ally

Thank you, it is NOT about skinny or fat, it's about happy, and (hopefully) healthy! I'm a size 0, always have been since high school. I HATE it when people tell me I'm lucky. Just because I look like stick models they think I'm happy, but I hate my stick figure body, I miss the curves and boobs I had after my pregnancy. As soon as I stopped breastfeeding I was right back to my 0. I hate when people tell me I need to eat, I do! I love food! No one loves pizza and burgers more than this girl, promise! But I do try to be healthy, so I don't stuff my face with processed food three times a day every day. I've started adding organic butter to my meals, drink two protein shakes a day, switched to whole milk, and restricted my exercise to low calorie burning yoga routines, but can't surpass 90lbs!! I'm 5'0'', so 90lbs doesn't exactly make me skeletal, but if anyone has good advice on gaining HEALTHY weight, I would appreciate it, because hearing "you're too skinny" hurts just as much as "you're too fat"

cmjaz cmjaz

If someone wants to be obese, (which this girl is NOT obese), then it isn't any of our damn business

the4m... the4mutts

I want to know what the big fucking deal is?

So what? Someone chubby, *about my size* posted a picture like we see on tumblr, twitter, and fb every single day, and somehow its become noteworthy? Hell, I have nude pregnancy pics on my fb!

Look, I'm glad she feels good about herself, but honestly, why does it matter? Do we really need to give every confident woman a public pat on the back for being happy with herself?

Why can't we all just worry about our damn selves and stop caring so much what everyone else does with their body?

Karla C. Mulrenan

So whats wrong with being naturally thin, healthy and physically active? Im sick of people hating on thin women who care about their health. If I posted a picture of myself and labeled it comfortable in my own skin and I am thin, fit, pretty with big boobs i'd have an army of fat women hating on me and it would be okay. Im sick of this double standard. This " real women have curves" bullshit! I might not have a fat ass and thick thighs but Im sure ass hell real women!!! I gave birth through my vagina not a c-section because I was too obese to push. Hate on me all you want. But unhealthy obesity shouldnt be glorified!! I get it your comfortable with your body but it's still unhealthy. Sure, lets make obesity the new thin and encourage women to love their obesity when in the future it will create major health problems. it shouldnt be about image it should be about being healthy!

peanu... peanutsmommy1

@ Karla

REALLY? Are you a "real woman" because you had a vaginal birth?

Guess what, I was "obese" when I gave birth and had a perfectly easy 5 hour vaginal delivery. My 2 "skinny" coworkers had c-sections....

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