Photo of Woman in Underwear is an Open Invitation for the Entire Internet to Judge

Student and blogger Stella Boonshoft experienced an Internet-sized outpouring of love when photographer Brandon Staunton posted a bra-and-panty-clad photo of her on his popular Humans of New York Facebook page. Unfortunately, with the good, comes the ugly, and because she's a woman, there were plenty of comments about her body, and because she is not a thin woman, a lot of them were about her size. That's the thing, if she had a Barbie body (whatever the fuck that means? maybe big breasts, broken back?), the comments would've been about her fake boobs and fuckability, and if she'd been super thin, it woulda been about her lack of boobs and her fuckability; but because she's not skinny, it's about how she's fat and her fuckability. Doesn't matter, ladies, just know that if you are being seen, that you are also on display, and if your image is broadcast into the world at large, just know that you will be commented on and judged by the grossest bunch of idiot cowards who could ever wish to have the social skills to get witchu. It's just all so damn predictable.


Recently, Boonshoft met photographer Staunton in NYC, and recognized him from his hugely-popular Facebook page. She asked to take his photo, and then asked him to take hers for his page. Cool, cool, everything seems legit, it's just two people taking pictures of each other, nothing to see here. Then, they discussed her body-lovin' blog, The Body Love Blog, and Staunton said he was interested in learning more. When Boonshoft got home later that day, she emailed him the link, and went on with her life. So, she was surprised, when the next thing she knew, a photo from her blog of her posing in underwear showed up on his Facebook page — with its almost 367,000 likes.

"I expected him to post the CLOTHED picture of me, and link to my blog, so anyone who was interested could check it out," she wrote. "So needless to say I was a little surprised when I saw my half-naked self on Facebook, getting thousands of likes every minute."

Side note: Am I the only one who's a little annoyed at the photographer for snapping one photo and posting a different one? I understand that she talked to him abut her sizeism project, but it still strikes me as kind-of dickish — or at least very inconsiderate — to post a photo of a woman in her undergarments without asking first. That's just courtesy, right? We didn't bone and this isn't for your private enjoyment, so, without my express consent, nope. But maybe I am showing my genteel modesty jkjk I'm blogging in the buff.

So, because she is a woman, and because her photo because popular on the internet, you know it was only a matter of time before the sludge of the Internet oozed its way into the conversation. You see, as a woman, your body is always up for judgment by people who feel the need to share their worthless opinions on women's bodies whenever the opportunity presents itself. Which should be never, right? It's never the right time for anyone to do that. Unfortunately, they think it's all the fucking time, and because our culture says that's okay, and even encourages it, why the hell wouldn't they? But, on the real, fuck you bros, go wack it to the thought of me flipping you off and then cry yourself to sleep in your sad twin bed.

Thankfully, in addition to the the buffoon brigade, there are lots of great people saying great things about Boonshoft's general awesonemess. Like, the vast majority of people. Sure, there's your concern trolls (concern trolls be trolling), misguided souls who are there to tell her she's "not fat," and even more concern trolls. However, most comments appear to be along the lines of, "you go, girl!" and, "fuck yeah, self-esteem!" So, there's that, and that's no small thing. It's exciting to see people being vocal about these things, and even to sometimes see them shut the trolls and the haters down. Power to the people, let's see more of that, please!

Perhaps the most rewarding responses for Boonshoft are the ones from younger women who struggle with body image and acceptance.

"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," she wrote on Tumblr.


Dang, girl, RAD. You're fucking doing it to it and honestly, no matter what you choose to do with your photos or your blog now or in the future, how you handled this potentially devastating situation is crazy admirable. I don't know if you drink, but a tip of the fifth of Jim Beam to you. I hope you stay out there in the spotlight, normalizing bodies through visibility, and just owning your shit, because the world needs a million more just like you. Maybe 200 million, actually.

On getting exactly what I wanted and feeling terrified [The Body Love Blog]



How is this a potentially devastating thing when she posed for that pic for him? Your side note is odd to me, because she invited him to take these pics of her-clothed and not. I agree that she's handling it well, but it's not as if it should've surprised her.