Ariel Winter has spoken out against the body shamers who sent her a barrage of negative comments after she posted a picture of herself wearing a bikini on Instagram. The 17-year-old hit back at those who claimed she was “asking for it”, by sharing the image, in which she was seen posing beside her two young nieces.

#mynieces #lovethem #fbf

A photo posted by Ariel Winter (@arielwinter) on

Taking to Instagram on Saturday, Winter posted artist Rosea Lake's 2013 photo “Judgments”, which shows a woman’s legs, marked at various intervals to show the stereotypes that might be applied if she wore a skirt or dress at each length. The highest level on the thigh is labelled ‘whore’, while closer to the calf is marked ‘prudish’.

Winter attached a lengthly caption to the image which read: ‘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.’

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‘It sickens me to think at 17 years old, a photo of myself with my nieces is suggesting that I'm "asking for it". 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.. ‘

‘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. Us girls have to stick together!!!!!!’

The actress was soon met with support from her fans who praised the ‘Modern Family’ star for taking a stand against the online body shamers. Earlier this month Winter had united with singer Ariana Grande against those who had been negatively comparing the two stars' body shapes online.

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Responding to a commenter who wrote ‘“Got asked if I’d prefer @arielwinter1 or @ArianaGrande lol, it would DEFINITELY be @arielwinter1 curves are sexy sticks aren’t (sic),’ Grande said, ‘Diversity is sexy! Loving yourself is sexy! You know what is NOT sexy? Misogyny, objectifying, labeling, comparing and body shaming!’

Winter later shared Grande’s comments and added, ‘Thank you @arianagrande for posting this. I love the message you're putting out there. I believe in EMPOWERING other women and not putting them down. I celebrate everyone for who they are because that is what makes them beautiful.’

A photo posted by Ariel Winter (@arielwinter) on