Does “Size-12 Stella” help spread message of body acceptance?

Jodi Davis

| 3 min read

Watching 18-year old Stella Boonshoft explain the reasons why she took a photo of herself in her underwear and then posted that image online was a bit emotional for me because her comments hit a very familiar nerve. I give this amazing young lady much credit as it was her hope to spread a message of body acceptance with this particular photo. I’m positive that I share the same opinion as countless others when I say that Stella was successful at doing just that. The underwear image of a size-12 Stella has had over 4 million views and it has ignited an outpouring of uplifting responses.
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Stella explained that she endured years of struggling with her body image. There was just no way to justify the bullying and the torment she experienced as a child and teenager because of her body size. When she stated that nobody has the authority to judge a person’s beauty or by making assumptions of another person’s health by the way they look, I understood her words completely. After all those years Stella has finally come to a place where she is very happy with the way she looks.
The Body Acceptance Movement has a message that Stella hopes to share with everyone who views this image. BAM strives to increase the self-esteem and body image and promote positive health behaviors such as fun physical activity and intuitive eating. The Huffington Post featured an interesting article pertaining to this movement which said, in part,
“It is essential to women’s emotional health to love their body in spite of the constant messages we get that we only deserve to do so if we are as thin as we are told to be. But somewhere along the way we lost the overall point: women’s emotional and physical health are interconnected and we do ourselves a grave disservice if we don’t take care of our physical health because we are so busy defending ourselves from the emotional tyranny of being thin.”
Posted along with Stella’s underwear image was what I consider to be a strong and sincere statement, “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.”
She sure says it like she means it, a view millions of women probably want to come out and say but remain silent about. Stella lives in New York City and said that she is reminded daily with billboards of the thin “same look, same body type” models and God forbid that a size 12 like her would ever appear on those same billboards.
Stella has received an outpouring of love, and for the most part people have been very supportive. For those that are not, she feels that their cruelness stems from being uncomfortable with seeing images of people who are not thin. She is trying to allow individuals to understand the Body Acceptance Movement and is not at all promoting being unhealthy. She simple wants to take away the stigma of the overweight people of America and spreading the message of body acceptance.
Thank you Stella. Your amazing courage the message has been heard loud and clear!

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