Ariel Winter posing topless promotes body-positivity

Maddie Boone, Staff Writer

Actress Ariel Winter posed topless in unedited photos for “Self” magazine. Why is this newsworthy? Because Winter is among many women on a mission to silence body shaming and teach girls to be proud of their bodies.

Winter’s acting breakthrough came when she was 11 years old on the hit sitcom show “Modern Family.” She has since grown up the public eye. As she went through puberty, Winter received heavy criticism from the media for her curvy physique. After years of learning to cope with negative comments on the Internet and media prodding, she has come to love herself and her body.

She credits support from her family, as well as fellow cast member Sophia Vergara, for helping her be body positive. In fact, her confidence reached a new high when she did this photo shoot with “Self” magazine. This body positivity is not new to Winter, who bore her scar following her very public breast reduction surgery on the red carpet at the Screen Actors Guild Awards last year. Through the years she has stood strong and spoke out against body shaming. A year ago, someone on the Internet left appalling comments on a photo of her posing with her nieces on Instagram saying she was “asking for it,” a statement that promotes rape culture. Winter shot back at the individual by posting a photo representing the way in which women are labeled for their clothing choices, captioning it with a call for more unity among women to stand against appearance-based judgments and to promote body positive behavior instead.

Winter promotes body positivity through posting unedited and untouched photos, a common practice among female celebrities. In America, the media is everywhere. Raising a child ignorant to advertisements, movies, and television is practically impossible. Most American children are not exposed to the fact that the images of normal women perpetuated by the media do not reflect reality; meaning that what we say women should look like is not how women really look. The models that grace the posters in Times Square and strut runways are chosen for their genetic thinness and spend all their time maintaining it. Even when they have a blemish or a scar, it is simply edited out. That is not your average woman.

While many dismiss the new influx of curvier models or unedited photos as just another pop culture fad, this is, in fact, a very important phenomenon. Young women, and men for that matter, need to be taught that the women they see in the media are by no means an accurate representation of women or even what women should be. This trend alternatively teaches youth that the way they are born, the scars they acquire growing up, and what they choose to wear does not make them ugly, and certainly does not define who they are. If American media had more body-positive role models like Winter, Lena Dunham, and Ashley Graham, we could begin to help young women be confident and proud of themselves and teach young men what women really look like.

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