Lady Gaga gets all the credit for her body revolution campaign, but a New York College student had been a bolder advocate for body acceptance in recent months. Stella Boonshoft has become a viral hero thanks to her blog, in which she speaks frankly and powerfully about weight and body perception.
Boonshoft, who writes The Body Love Blog, recently made waves with an image of herself in a bikini on her Tumblr site, reports People. Yes, Boonshoft is a “bigger” girl, but that’s kind of the point behind the bold picture, and the reason that her courage has been celebrated.
“My body must be a revolution,” she wrote along with the photo, which was captioned, “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. I am not going to stand for that. This is my body, not yours. MINE.”
Appearing on Tuesday’s Today show, Boonshoft explained her reasons for posting the photo.
“I think people are cruel because they are uncomfortable seeing an image of people who are not thin,” she said during the interview. “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.”
Her cause has gone viral with over 2.4 million views on Facebook and 80,000 shares of her bikini photo on Tumblr. Brandon Stanton, creator of the Humans of New York project, is also giving Boonshoft a boost, using her bikini picture in a collection of street portraits across the city. Though the prospect terrified Boonshoft at first, she eventually accepted it.
“It took a lot of years of soul searching to decide this isn’t right,” she said on Today. “I finally came to a place where I was really happy with the way that I looked. I wanted to leave a message to the bullies who tormented me.”
Here’s Stella Boonshoft’s interview on Today: