Plus-Size Student’s Bikini Photo, Tumblr Rant Against Body Image Ideals Goes Viral

Stella Boonshoft made a defiant statement about body image two weeks ago when she posted the latest photo of herself on her Tumblr blog “The Body Love Blog.”

She wrote: “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 fucking business. Meaning my size, IS NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS.”

The photo in question was of the New York University student in only a strapless bikini, stretch marks faintly visible across her stomach. She went off on all the people that made fun of her weight and body type over the years, including “Emily from middle school, who bullied me incessantly, made mocking videos about me, sent me nasty emails, and called me ‘lard’.”

Then by chance last week, New York photographer Brandon Stanton happened to meet Boonshoft, and they took photos of each other. Instead of posting the shots he took of her on the streets, Stanton reposted the bikini photo he found on her Tumblr account on his Facebook page, and it has since gone viral with nearly half a million likes and mostly positive comments.

However, it wasn’t all smiles for Boonshoft. After the photo went public, she felt like “utter shit” after reading some of negative comments about her weight. It even got to a point where she considered asking Stanton to delete the photo from his Facebook page.

Boonshoft decided to let the image remain and wrote in a subsequent blog post: “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.”


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