"My surgery got a lot of criticism from some people, but I’m happier for it."
These are the words put on paper by Ariel Winter, who opted to undergo breast reduction surgery last year after suffering from physical and emotional limitations.
"My life changed over the course of a summer," Winter wrote in an essay on Motto.
"I came back to film season 3 of Modern Family, and I knew that I looked totally different than when we’d wrapped season 2."
Winter's height (just over 5 feet) and cup size weren't proportionate, which she found to be excruciatingly difficult.
"You physically hurt," she wrote. "You can’t find clothes that fit right.I couldn’t find a cute bathing suit.
"Women are already over-sexualized, and I grew into my body so young. I was 13, 14 years old, and I looked 19," Winter continued.
"Suddenly, people didn’t want to talk about my job—they just wanted to talk about my cleavage. I’d go to awards shows and the next day see everyone on the Internet telling me I shouldn’t look like this and dress like that.
"The conversation became about my looks instead of my talent and work—everything that I didn’t want. I even started getting messages from older male fans, and let’s just say they were gross."
Others accused Winter of trying to look sexy, but she had no control over her chest size. So, the star opted for surgery because of how she felt, not "because of what anyone else thought."
"Having so much weight on my frame was affecting me psychologically," she added. "I was uncomfortable and unhappy."
Post-surgery, Winter felt the effects immediately. The pain in her neck and back subsided, and she felt better in her own skin.
"The first thing I wanted to do was go clothing shopping because I was so excited to be able to find things that fit properly instead of hiding in a baggy sweater," Winter wrote. "That meant the world to me."
"Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think women should ever change themselves based on anyone else’s standards," Winter explained. "In the end, I think it’s all about how you feel—not what other people think."