The power of social media can be a double-edged sword. A recent body positive shoot of a Texas couple, Stephanie and Arryn, spread all over the internet like a wildfire. The reactions of the public were mainly positive, but apparently, Stephanie’s employer doesn’t share the opinion of the public.
After the photos went viral, Stephanie got fired from Austin Bank Texas N.A. As BuzzFeed reports, “they were ‘concerned’ about how many people would see her photos and how it would reflect on the company.”
The photoshoot can be described as a “couple boudoir.” The photos were taken by Bria Terry of Wolf & Rose Photography, depicting a couple deeply in love with each other. The reason why the photos went viral is the body positive message, considering that Stephanie is a “plus-sized” lady. In the photos, she looks comfortable in her own skin, in love with her fiancé, and she’s sending a powerful message for all of us who don’t fit the mold of the beauty standards. As Stephanie tells BuzzFeed, the shoot also made her feel comfortable and confident. However, her employer had a different opinion of this photo shoot, which resulted in her losing a job.
As BuzzFeed reports, Austin Bank Texas N.A. told Stephanie that the topless photos were inappropriate for a family-oriented company in which she was employed. However, she was wearing a swimsuit bottom and a strapless top that’s worn with backless dresses. Still, the employer had already made the decision, and Stephanie was left without the job. Stephanie tells BuzzFeed that she gave over a year of life to that company and worked really hard for them.
“[…] To have them turn on me for doing something so positive, something that I was so proud of — to help myself as a woman — it was hurtful.”
To make things worse, Stephanie and Arryn are expecting a baby. As the photographer herself shares on her Facebook page, Stephanie is 20+ weeks pregnant. Therefore, she is left without the insurance and the paid maternity leave. I don’t know the US laws, but I imagine it can’t be legal to fire a pregnant woman.
Thank you BuzzFeed for sharing this story! I completely understand that it is perfectly within the company's rights to…
This story really left me feeling bitter. First of all, Stephanie and Arryn’s photoshoot is very tasteful, and I can’t see how it can be offensive to anyone. I’ve seen couples on a Saturday night that act and look way more inappropriate. Also, the photos share a positive message for others, as I mentioned before. And most of all, doing this photoshoot was empowering for Stephanie, which I believe is the most important. In a word, I don’t think these photos could harm anyone in any way.
Finally, I hope this will end well for Stephanie. I know it must be shocking for her to lose her job over a body positive photo shoot. But I hope that she’ll find a job in a company that will appreciate her as an employer and as a person.