Applaud Model’s Inspirational Body Image Photo

colostomy bag

Target: Bethany Townsend

Goal: Applaud an aspiring model’s efforts to inspire confidence in body image

Recently, an aspiring model’s bikini photo went viral around the globe. The model has Crohn’s disease and was pictured lounging at the beach in a bikini, which revealed her colostomy bags. This picture has inspired countless others with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to become more confident in their bodies.

Bethany Townsend has been afflicted with Crohn’s disease since she was three years old. In 2010, Bethany’s bowels burst and she was fitted with colostomy bags, which are connected to the large intestine to collect waste products that would normally be regulated through a person’s rectum and anus. Due to the presence of these colostomy bags, Bethany and many individuals with similar conditions are usually self-conscious of their bodies and feel they must wear more clothing than they normally would in order to conceal these visible bags.

The bikini that Bethany is wearing in the picture is the first she has worn since being fitted with colostomy bags in 2010. Bethany submitted the bikini selfie of herself to the Crohn’s and Colitis UK organization, which works to improve the lives of those with inflammatory bowel disease. The organization had posted this photo on its Facebook page, and has since inspired countless individuals with inflammatory bowel disease to post their own selfies on the Facebook page. This action helped to spread the #GetYourBellyOut movement on Twitter, which seeks to raise IBD awareness and to inspire people with IBD to be confident about their bodies. The overwhelming positive responses to Bethany’s selfie has encouraged her to consider resuming a modeling career, which she was deterred from when she had the colostomy operation.

Self-consciousness of body image is an issue that is prevalent in society, especially with individuals whose bodies are a little different from the typical bodies that are commonly depicted in media. Bethany’s brave move of submitting a photo of herself with exposed colostomy bags is a step in the direction against the obsession and jealousy over stereotypically perfect bodies. Applaud this aspiring model’s courage in her self-image, and for serving as an inspiration for other individuals to not be ashamed of their own unique bodies.


Dear Bethany Townsend,

Reading about how your vacation picture that went viral had encouraged others with IBD to be more confident in their bodies was truly inspirational. Low self-esteem due to dejection of self-image is a prevalent issue in society, especially since the media typically depicts stereotypically perfect model bodies. It was heartening to read that the tremendously encouraging reactions that you have received from the posting of your selfie has also had a positive effect on you in that you are considering getting back into modeling. You will no doubt prosper in whatever road you decide to take from here.

I wish you the best of luck with the possible modeling career that lies ahead of you, and I look forward to reading more about the #GetYourBellyOut movement as it continues to progress.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Remedios44 via Wikimedia Commons

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