It’s a known fact that people are mean, and when they’re behind a keyboard, even meaner. Stella Boonshoft found out that out the hard way, when she posted a bikini photo on her Tumblr page. After the photo was picked up by by photographer Brandon Stanton and published on his photography site Humans of New York, it went viral. As of last Thursday it received 455,000 likes and it has been shared 20,000 times.

But the photo was not received well by all. In response to the negative attention, she contemplated taking the photo down, but decided not to. Stella said:

“I know what I am trying to do, which is help young women struggling with their body image and expose the hypocrisy and cruelty that is sizeism, is SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT whatever feelings I may have about myself.”

Underneath the photo she wrote:

‘THIS IS MY BODY, DEAL WITH IT’: STELLA BOONSHOFT IN HER OWN WORDS

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.

If my big belly and fat arms and stretch marks and thick thighs offend you, then that’s okay. I’m not going to hide my body and my being to benefit your delicate sensitivities.
This picture is for the strange man at my nanny’s church who told me my belly was too big when I was five.
This picture is for my horseback riding trainer telling me I was too fat when I was nine.
This picture is for the girl from summer camp who told me I’d be really pretty if I just lost a few pounds
This picture is for all the f****** stupid advertising agents who are selling us cream to get rid of our stretch marks, a perfectly normal thing most people have (I got mine during puberty)
This picture is for the boy at the party who told me I looked like a beached whale.
This picture is for Emily from middle school, who bullied me incessantly, made mocking videos about me, sent me nasty emails, and called me “lard”. She made me feel like I didn’t deserve to exist. Just because I happened to be bigger than her. I was 12. And she continued to bully me via social media into high school.

MOST OF ALL, this picture is for me. For the girl who hated her body so much she took extreme measures to try to change it. Who cried for hours over the fact she would never be thin. Who was teased and tormented and hurt just for being who she was.

I’m so over that.

THIS IS MY BODY, DEAL WITH IT

What do you think about the photo and the negative reaction she received?

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22 Comments

  1. BYE, HATERS. That is what she said.

    I agree with her.

    I myself am “overweight” at 160 lbs and 5′-nothing. I have stretch marks on my belly, scars, stretch marks on my shoulders. My belly sticks out regardless of what I do, a possible remnant of early childhood mild malnutrition where I was so afraid of getting fat I wouldn’t eat AT ALL. Do I care? Not really. (Though I could do without the belly stretchmarks—I look like a weird tiger.)

    If it’d been me? I’d do it. I haven’t worn a bathing suit in a decade and a half and I am tempted to see now how I’d look, because just like her, I can.

    More power, my bright sister. More power.

  2. Don’t put the pc out theree if you don;t want to be judged. There is always a sociopath waiting to mess with someone and their self-esteem

  3. I think the photo looks fine. Sure, she’s not a model, but neither are 99.9% of us. I say “bravo” to her. People are so mean. It takes a lot of strength to do what she did. If I had to endure people picking apart my bikini pics, I would probably have a mental breakdown (just kidding, but seriously, it would upset me immensely). It’s like people are so used to seeing these 16-year-old airbrushed models, that anyone who doesn’t measure up deserves to get ridiculed.

    Even if you’re thin, people will say you’re “too skinny” and need to “put some meat on your bones” if you want to find a man. If you’re fit, then you’re too muscular, and look like a man. Point being, no matter what you do, you can’t win. So I applaud her and wish I had half the strength that she does.

  4. She can’t handle the heat. And yes, when you post on the Internet for EVERYONE to see, you do make it EVERYONE’s business.

    She is pretty. But I am not going to sit here and say fat power! I am fat and I consider myself beautiful; however, I am trying to lose weight because I know fat is not healthy. People can try to wrap it up anyway they would like, but being obese takes years off of your life! I want to live a longer life, so I am going to slim down a bit. Healthy slim. Not scary fashion skinny. I feel like this pro fat trend makes people forget the bigger picture of health.

    • @Enay: Thank you so much for being the voice of reason. I think it’s disgusting that people picked on this young woman as no one should be picked on about size or any other personal trait. But for her to say she will never be the thin girl doesn’t have to be true. She would not be this size if she ate differently and exercised regularly. That’s just a fact. If she says, “I don’t want to be the thin girl,” that’s a statement that no one can debate. And it’s her right and decision to feel that way. But the pro fat trend is as dangerous, in my opinion, as worshiping super thin bodies.

    • @Enay:
      no. just no. there’s always one of your type on these type of posts. generally saying ‘i’m fat and cool with it, but i’m losing weight for me/to be healthy. and you should all feel bad for being happy with your fat’
      don’t project your insecurities or personal beliefs on others. being slimmer does not equal healthy and neither does being heavier or bigger equal unhealthy/health problems.
      that is a belief you have attained because of society’s beauty/health ideals. let the girl be happy being the way she is and refrain from trying to tell people what they should be doing with their lives.
      @T. payne what’s wrong with her saying that? why doesn’t it have to be true? saying “i will never be the thin girl” is non-debateable as well because it’s her body and therefore should be her decision whether she will ever be thin or not.

  5. KUDOS!!!! Well said! (…but she would be really pretty if she lost some weight! LOL) J/K :-)

  6. I’m excited and proud that she posted this picture and commentary! If we have to see incessant instagram,twitter,and facebook pictures of young women who pose damn near half naked with no meaningful message, I have to applaud Stella for posting this with such a meaningful message.

  7. I think she’s pretty and a brave for stepping forward and standing up for herself.
    She’s an example of a strong person and I think we all should encourage more people to do the same.
    To stand up to bullies and bullying.
    and btw, just because you use media to express yourself doesn’t give an idiot the right try and oppress the message.
    that only serves to highlight that persons ignorance.
    Well done Stella. Stay true to yourself. Live life, be healthy and stand up for what you believe in :)

  8. I agree with her 100% her body, her size and what she does with it is not one else’s f*******g business. I’m all for a a healthy fit toned body and do what I can to achieve that, but whether you’re fat, skinny, fit or whatever it really is no one else’s business. Me thinks people need to get a life. Good for her!

  9. if everybody worried about themselves and not what other ppl look like the world would be a better place.. stop allowing how someone else looks affect you.. worry about u..

  10. Her size is none of people’s business but she DID put the picture out there. If she was what society deemed desirable, would we be even talking about her. Fat people make issues out of the smallest things that they usually. do themselves. No one tells them to get fat but then they turn around make us feel bad for being honest. Some of the comments were vicious in nature but damn, what did she expect.

  11. I remember liking her post before it got this big. I thought it was just a random post but it got viral real quick.

  12. I think she’s pretty, and she’s beautiful because she had the guts to post this picture. I’m skinny, I love my body that way, so what? It doesn’t mean I think skinny should the only beauty ideal.

  13. She is brave and beautiful. Her beauty radiates from inside to out and resonates because she is a peace with herself. Women are tired of being pushed around and shaped by media and mind sets that drink and live by media imagery of what a young girl or woman should look like. Young girls are experimenting more and more openly with lesbianism as young boys are doing the same with homosexuality – and many are doing it simply because media promoted sh#t like I kissed a girl and liked it or there is something gay about men pumping each other or performing oral sex on each other – what is gay about that ???

  14. i wish I could keep weight on . Her body is beautiful, as are all her size…she look healthy to me. The old saying ” cornfed ‘, is what I want for me, and she wears it so beautifully. !!!!! I truely want to know what she eats , how she exercises, because I want her size on me …now !!! I weight 115 lbs., only got to 155 lbs. carrying a child…then lsot it all to quick. Can’t get over 115, and I’m 5′ 8” tall. I look like a crackhead chick !!! Help me Stella !!!.

  15. She is saying she doesn’t care what anyone thinks or says about her body she is comfortable in the skin she’s in and doesn’t matter what they may say. You Stella are to be commended for your strength to hold your head up and keep it moving ..Haters get out of the way .

  16. WOW!!! Where do I begin?! First and foremost I commend her for being so FORTHCOMING about her appearance for the motivation of others (especially young women that deal with body issues on a daily) BUT most of all the COURAGE to hold her head up and withstand the good but at the same time the repercussions/hurtful comments of many. With that being said there are many thoughts/comments from my end to some of the comments people posted. I for the most part try to humble myself in the thought that humans have a conscious, common sense, sympathy and/or empathy. But there comes a time where that “bubble is burst” & I remember how human nature is just cruel at times. Yes!! She posted a picture and yes she’s getting a reaction in response to her actions but that doesn’t give anyone the right to turn a positive message into a forum of “well she posted it what did she expect” etc. It blows me away how under the pic she gives a compelling and brief cap of her struggle and to read that and still be able to talk Sh** in a negative aspect is beyond me. Ask yourselves this, If I leave money/food on a counter and you’re broke/hungry does it make it right for one to take it cause I forgot it? Hell no it wasn’t yours so leave it, simple enough right? If you leave your car door unlocked and it gets stolen is that ok because you left it unlocked? Hell no it wasn’t yours to begin with. If you wear something that some may deem it provocative and get raped solely because of what you wore is that right? Absolutely not!! I hope people see where I’m going with this, just cause a window of opportunity presents itself whether it be good or bad doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s ok or even justifiable to act on it. Again, she posted her pic if you don’t agree easy enough close it out no need for the harsh comments I’m sure she’s gotten enough to last her a lifetime. Moving it along, SMH really people think about this I would with much confidence and surety say that the MAJORITY of overweight, obese, and morbily obese people don’t walk around wanting to be FAT, made fun of, talked about, picked on and bullied the list goes on. Not all of them most certainly are fat based on just binging and overeating food or eating the wrong foods. There are many factors that play a role & have a predisposition on weight problems such as metabolism, genetics, diseases ( endocrine problems, thyroid issues, serious hormonal issues and the list goes on). Not every person that’s heavier necessarily means that they are unhealthy. That’s a whole different subject in itself. So for simple minded people who don’t think outside the box food is not the only problem at times. If u have been battling with weight issues your existence to where you are today and feel like there’s just no hope after failed diets and numerous attempts at weight loss then I can understand why that same person may be inclined to eat and binge eat because its the one thing that they can control is what goes in their mouth and there they find their “comfort”. If diets worked everyone would pretty much be where they would want to be weight wise and then there wouldn’t be a need or a market for bariatric (weight loss) surgery. If people wanted to be purposely fat, bariatric surgeons wouldn’t have the great influx of patients seeking out their expertise nonetheless they would be jobless solely in that market. There are those people that embrace their curves just the way they are and more power to you and if you’d rather be a bit thinner go for it. Well as I’m ending it here (after going on a tangent Lol) if u take away anything at all take away the following:
    * more cushion for the pushing
    *Us pleasantly plump girls are an asset for our men we help provide shade in the summer and warmth in the winter
    YOUR BODY IS YOUR TEMPLE AS GOD GAVE IT TO US EMBRACE IT!!! ;-)

  17. What an amazing person! How strong & beautiful she is! In today’s day you know how many grls would have either developed an eating disorder or do i dare say tried to commit suicide? This girl is amazing, i commend her journey!

    -b

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