Stella Boonshoft a New York University student took this photograph of herself in a bikini and posted it on her Tumblr account, The Body Love Blog.
Photographer Brandon Stanton then published the same image on his Facebook fan site, Humans of New York on Thursday, where it has since garnered 455,000 likes and been shared 20,000 times.
The image of Stella Boonshoft in her bikini has sparked a debate about body image and traditional notions of beauty, with some people congratulating Boonshoft and calling her an inspiration, and others criticizing the image for promoting obesity.
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 battled with crappy eating disorders and been plagued with body dysmorphic disorder, this photo gives me hope. 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’m not saying that I want to live in a world where it’s accepted that people are unhealthy. I want better for people. I want them to be able to be healthy and fit but more than that, I want to raise my girls in a world where it’s okay to love yourself even if you are not a size 0. We need more role models.
I can’t be a role model. I am not that comfortable in my own skin. I try to be. I try to accept who I am but I have a long ways to go. I KNOW that I am blessed to be healthy and my worth is not in the size of my pants but this girl inspires me, which is exactly what she set out to do for women everywhere.
“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 size-ism,” she says on her site. “[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][I know that] is SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT [than] whatever feelings I may have about myself.”
‘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 … business. Meaning my size, is none of your … business.