When Storm Stella covered her garden in snow, a blogger from Vermont decided to venture outside - in a bikini.
Leah Stanley posed for a couple of quick snaps in the two-piece to deliver a body-positive message to her 17,000 followers.
She said instead of obsessing about thigh gaps and society’s beauty standards, we should face criticism head on, just like she faced the storm.
“Thank you Stella for helping me find my true thigh gap, without an hour of posing and arching and without crying and starving for carbs due to lack of them,” she said.
“I just put this bikini on and faced the storm, much like when I start to feel down. I don’t cower back and let my crazy thoughts take over, I face them.”
She captioned the image with the popular body-positive hashtag #effyourbeautystandards, which was started by plus size model Tess Holliday.
Stanley said she shared the image to encourage self-love. “I sure AF can’t change the storm, but I sure can embrace it, like I do this bikini,” she said.
The photo has been liked more than 1,000 times, with dozens of people commenting to share their support for the blogger.
“You are crazy for going out in the snow with just a bikini on! But proud of you for rocking your bod,” one said.
Another added: “You look fab! Personally I’d be freezing, but there’s nothing wrong with your body and anyone who says there is is a dick.”
In a second post, Stanley said that as “a fat girl unapologetically being herself” on Instagram, she’s received criticism from others.
“If I’m not being told I’m too fat to exist I’m told I’m being too sexy or classless and seeking attention. As a person I have the right to wear what I want, post what I want, and I have the right to stand my ground,” she said.
“No matter what my end game is, your judgments and fat/body-shaming says so much more about you and your insecurities.”
She went on to encourage her followers to unite against body-shamers online.
“We need to stand together, overpower the bullies and haters with everything that makes them cringe. Which is why I continue to do what I do,” she said.
“Society needs to recheck their body standards, because HELLO we are all beautiful in our own ways. We all have a beach body, we can all wear shorts, tank tops or just whatever.”
She added that she refuses to let remarks from strangers upset her as she doesn’t want to let “these strangers take control of [her] emotions”.
“We’ve been letting society take control for too long, stand your ground and do what makes your heart happy,” she said.
“Be strong, fight for what you believe in, you’ll have more of a chance to make a difference than you will sitting quietly. Don’t let the haters get ya, they don’t deserve you!”
We couldn’t agree more.