When Stella Boonshoft posted a picture of herself wearing a bikini on Tumblr, she wanted the world to see her body — as it really is. No Spanx. No airbrushing. No carefully positioned clothing. Because of her brave act, she started a powerful online discussion about body image. She put any fear she had aside and went for it. And over 2.5 million people paid attention (that's how many viewed it on Facebook).
Don't let the bullies win
Stella says she was bullied about her body for years and when she'd finally had enough, she posted the picture. In an interview with Today she said, "I found that after years of struggling with my body image, that really, there was no way to justify the bullying as a child and as a teen."
Own your body
"My body must be a revolution," Boonshoft wrote along with her photo with the caption: "[The] picture might be considered obscene because [the] subject is not thin. And we all know that only skinny people can show their stomachs and celebrate themselves. I am not going to stand for that. This is my body, not yours. Mine." That's a message every teen girl should take to heart. Why should society or a bully, or anyone else, decide how someone's body should look?
Boonshoft has been very clear that she's not intending to send a message that people should be fat. She also says, despite her polycystic ovarian syndrome, she's working to be as healthy as she can be. On her website she writes, "Not everyone is built the same, not everyone who is healthy is thin, and not everyone who is thin is healthy."
Be an individual
Maybe the most important thing teenage girls can learn from Boonshoft is that it's okay to stand up for something you believe in, even if you're doing it alone. She shows that if you are passionate about something others will eventually follow. But that can't be the reason you're doing it. On her blog she writes, "I'm still on my journey. I'll probably be thinner than I am one day. So what? My character stays the same, it doesn't matter what size I am.