Modern Family star Ariel Winter took to Instagram on Friday to slam commenters who said she was “asking for it” by posting a picture of herself in a bikini.
“Who knew that an innocent photo with my nieces would turn into this?” Winter wrote on another Instagram meme of a woman’s leg showing various skirt lengths. “The height of a girl's skirt or whatever she is wearing for that matter, does not imply what she is asking for. It sickens me to think at 17 years old, a photo of myself with my nieces is suggesting that I'm ‘asking for it.’”
The picture in question, which Winter posted earlier in the day, featured the 17-year-old actress, who is still legally a minor in the state of California, in a bikini on a boat with her two young nieces. Winter said she received comments on the pic implying she was “asking for it” by dressing provocatively.
“Those two are sooooo cute and cuddly,” one commenter wrote. “And I'm not talking bout your nieces. ?.”
Winter said she decided to speak out against the comments to help others who might be bullied or threatened on social media.
“I typically never give power to the mean things people bravely say behind their computer screens on the Internet, but this is for the girls who are constantly bullied whether it be online or at school,” she wrote. “You are not asking for anything because of what you are wearing- you are expressing yourself and don't you ever think you deserve the negativity as the consequence to what you are wearing- YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.”
“Celebrate you and don't let anyone's comments allow you to think less of yourself,” Winter added. “Us girls have to stick together!!!!!!”
In October, Winter opened up about undergoing breast reduction surgery.
“I mainly did it for myself. Yes, I had many comments, and it bothered me that that was kind of what I was known for,” the actress told ET at the time, adding later, “There’s so much in the media [telling people] you have to look a certain way. People feel so pressured that if they don’t look thisi way, they’re not going to be beautiful.”