Beauties and a Beast: PEOPLE's 5 Most Provocative Stories of the Week

Beauties and a Beast: PEOPLE's 5 Most Provocative Stories of the Week
Bethany Townsend (left) and Esther Honig
Caters; Courtesy Esther Honig

07/05/2014 AT 09:20 AM EDT

Bravery and beauty were the twin themes that linked PEOPLE.com's most-loved posts this week, as stories about real people trumped celebrity news in getting the most impassioned reactions from readers.

In particular, two women challenged the typical standards of beauty, and earned lots of love in the process – one with some very personal photos, the other with a fascinating global experiment.

Those stories are joined on this week's list by some grimmer news, as well as a LOL-worthy role-reversal video with a trucker and a police officer.

Below, check out the five stories that got the strongest reactions on PEOPLE.com this week. And let us know what you think of every story by clicking on the icons at the bottom.



Love Bethany Townsend, a former model who suffers from Crohn's disease, was fitted with two colostomy bags in 2010, and thought her days of wearing a two-piece bikini were over. But recently she found the courage to post some new bikini photos online. Readers adored them – and Townsend.

Wow Also on the topic of beauty, journalist Esther Honig embarked on a compelling global experiment, sending unretouched photo of herself to illustrators around the world and asked them to make her beautiful using Photoshop. The results show how beauty standards are completely different in different cultures.

Angry Meanwhile, many readers were outraged by a different set of photos this week – those of 19-year-old Texas cheerleader Kendall Jones posing with wildlife she had shot while hunting big game in Africa. The photos set off a firestorm of anger directed at Jones, though she also has supporters.

Sad The week's saddest story came from Pennsylvania, where conjoined twin brothers Andrew and Garrett Stancombe died a little more than two months after they were born. The two were joined at the torso and shared a heart and liver.

LOL Finally, your comic relief of the week: a video shot by a trucker that shows him pulling over an Illinois state trooper for speeding, and then arguing with the trooper about whether he's actually empowered to do such a thing. Warning: Don't try this at home!

Check back again next week for another must-read roundup. Until then, see what readers are reacting to every day by clicking here.

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