Ariel Winter with her adorable nieces. Photo: @arielwinter
Just when you think the world is making progress when it comes to women’s bodies, internet trolls come and remind us all that there is still oh so much work to be done. Ariel Winter found out that yesterday when she posted a photo to Instagram of herself and her two nieces on a boat. Of course, Winter is appropriately dressed for some aquatic fun times in a bikini – you know, those pieces of nylon women all over the world wear when they’re going swimming – but of course some ignorant commenters had to make an innocent family snap into something terrible.
A quick glance at Winter’s comments on the photo reveal a handful of internet creeps making sexually suggestive and unsavory comments about the 17-year-old Winter. One fellow (@thee_rick_jones), clearly troubled by the disgusting nature of the comments coming from grown men, vocalized his distaste for such language. “It is simply amazing to me the amount of sexual comments being directed at a 17-year-old girl from grown ass men… seek help or keep your deviant and perverted sexual comments to yourselves!”
But skeevers gonna skeeve so of course, some jerk had to come to the defense of all the lecherous mouth breathers on Instagram who lack the basic self-control to not be completely disgusting at all times. “She may be under aged but she doesn’t look it,” he said. “BTW, she knew what she was doing by posting herself in a bikini.”
Ick. Winter wasn’t going to take those gross comments lying down and promptly clapped back at the rude fellow. “This is a photo of me and my nieces – there is no need to turn it into anything else,” she replied. “I am not only standing up for myself but for all other girls out there – when they are dressing a certain way they aren’t ‘asking’ for anything – and for you to insinuate that is uncalled for.”
Ariel Winter is not here for your lecherous comments on her body! Photo: Splash
But Winter wasn’t done. Later that day, she posted on Instagram to further address the incident and remind young girls that their outfits are not an invitation or a justification for sexual comments from older men who lack the brain power to see women as full human beings rather than sex objects. “Who knew that an innocent photo with my nieces would turn into this? The height of a girl’s skirt or whatever she is wearing for that matter, does not imply what she is asking for,” Winter wrote. “It sickens me to think that at 17 years old, a photo of myself with my nieces is suggesting that I’m ‘asking for it.’ This is for the girls who are constantly bullied whether it be online or at school… You are not asking for anything because of what you are wearing – you are expressing yourself and don’t ever think you deserve the negativity as the consequence to what you are wearing.”
Of course, Ms. Winter is spot-on. Women and girls should not have to bear such harassment over what they choose to wear. A girl is wearing a bikini is not an invitation for a man to make sexual comments. A girl wearing a short skirt is not asking to be catcalled or harassed or worse. It boggles one’s mind to think that some men feel entitled to comment on a young girl’s body in such a lewd manner. Still, we are glad that Winter turned this unfortunate situation into a lesson, not only for gross men on the internet, but for young girls who feel shamed and uneasy in their bodies because of this type of harassment. Wear what you want, ladies – and don’t let guys get away with making you feel uncomfortable about it.