Body Image HERO: Stella Boonshoft | Bikini Picture |Social Media Phenomenon | Inner Beauty Coaching Tips Orlando Lake Mary Clermont Florida

Eighteen-year-old Stella Boonshoft stood in her dorm-room and did the unthinkable…or at least that what our American culture would perceive to be the ‘unthinkable’. Full-figured Boonshoft posed in her bra and panties, beaming with a big, beautiful smile. This college student began a full-figured revolution for the many young women that struggle with their weight.

The the semi-nude picture went viral. Boonshoft, the author of The Body Love Blog and says, “My body must be a revolution.” She adds a caption under the picture that says, “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.”

Boonshoft continued to herald her message on the Today Show, “I think people are cruel because they are uncomfortable seeing an image of people who are not thin. 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.”

While Boonshoft should be commended for her courageous stand for self-love, it could be argued that the vehicle (posting semi-naked picture) used sends a double message. The American culture is saturated with bare skinned women gracing the covers of magazines, billboards, CD covers and more. The oversexualization of the female body in America continues to create the need for young women to feel acceptance based on their physical appearance. Unfortunately, to be young, thin and gorgeous has become the cultural template set for every American woman.

Had Boonshoft posted a fully clothed picture of her sized 12 body and declared that she loved herself just the way she is…would anyone think she was a hero? Truthfully, no one would care. The fact that Boonshoft revealed her cleavage, stomach and thighs…created a social media frenzy that gained more that 2.4 million hits. So, the question is, “Has Boonshoft encouraged teen girls worldwide to begin revealing their semi-nude bodies to declare or prove self-love and worth?” Some may view this act as a form of acceptable Sexting. Young women should not feel compelled to declare their worth by revealing their bare, naked bodies.

Although the message is commendable, the vehicle is questionable. Women (and men) should embrace self-worth based on inner qualities and characteristics. Here are ways to enhance self-concept:

1)   Awareness—Begin your journey of self-acceptance by developing self-awareness. Understand your strengths and how you can maximize these areas. For those of you that are not sure of your strengths…Strenth Finder 2.0 may be purchased at any bookstore. This book is a perfect way to understand and employ your strengths. Additionally, it is just as important to evaluate and understand your areas of growth. Once you have identified your areas for growth…move to the second tip of education.

2)   Knowledge—Education is the perfect way to gather knowledge to apply to developing strong self-concept. Gain knowledge of your strengths and areas of growth. Remember we all have “blind” spots and “you don’t know what you don’t know!” Take time to be honest with yourself and learn how to improve you.

3)   Take Action—Once you have become aware of and gained knowledge about your strengths and areas of growth, it is time to take action! Maximize your strengths and reinforce your areas of growth.

Remember, physical attractiveness is great…but it will not last forever. This is not an article to encourage you ignore the importance of physical beauty, but it is to promote the possibility of a shift in individual perception. As you focus on the development of inner qualities and characteristics, you increase your outer beauty and attractiveness.

If you or someone you know struggle with poor self-concept, please contact a counselor for additional assistance.

NOTE: you can freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the authors contact information below intact. Author: Jada Collins, MA, MS. Host of the Jada Show – Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern Orlando Lake Mary Clermont Florida