Sometimes it seems like no matter how far we come as a society, women in the public eye will always face unfair scrutiny over their bodies. Modern Family star Sarah Hyland is no stranger to this phenomenon (she’s often been shamed for being “too skinny,” despite having numerous chronic health issues). However, Hyland is officially now a pro at shutting down the haters, so when social media users recently criticized her for wearing Spanx, she had the perfect clapback. In a February 26th Instagram post, the 28-year-old actress shared pictures of herself from the Vanity Fair Oscars party. In the three snapshots, she smiles for the camera in a hot pink, one-shoulder dress. In her caption, she joked about the fact that she wore two layers of Spanx under her dress.
But certain Instagram users didn’t approve of Hyland’s comment. Some worried that the joke might send the wrong message to young girls struggling with their body image, or to people recovering from eating disorders. Others accused her of being hypocritical. “she’s always preaching about body positivity and for people to not make comments about how skinny she is due to her health issues, but then implies that she needs to diet…..” one user wrote.
However, Hyland has a medical reason for wearing shapewear: The actress has had two kidney transplants—one in 2012 and another in 2017 after her body rejected the first one. She told Self magazine that the new kidney was connected to her old one in the front, and as a result, her abdomen protrudes slightly. The actress said that this makes her feel self-conscious, noting, “Sometimes I have complete meltdowns in the middle of fittings.”
She acknowledged that this was the reason she opted for Spanx, retweeting a comment from a user who was dealing with a similar transplant bump, and replying to a now-deleted tweet further explaining her condition.
Hyland shouldn’t have to justify her wardrobe choices—or explain her health conditions—to strangers on the internet, but she handled it like a champ. At the end of the day, everyone should have the right to wear whatever makes them feel comfortable, period.