body image / social / topical

#LoveYourLines – Why It's Okay To Have Stretch Marks

Many new mums may feel self conscious about the stretch marks that appear during pregnancy and feel a pressure to get rid of them soon after giving birth. This is exactly why new mum Hannah Moore posted a photo of her post-pregnancy stretch marks to Instagram with the caption “nobody should be judged by their size because everyone is beautiful.

Hannah shared her photo to encourage other new mums to embrace their post-baby bodies. Moments later, her account was deleted because the images were deemed “inappropriate” and violated Instagram’s nudity and violence terms. Moore said that the blocking of her account made her feel ashamed and that her body is “clearly fat, ugly and disgusting”, which is not how a woman who has proudly delivered two healthy girls should be made to feel. When the story came to light, Instagram were quick defend themselves. The photo sharing network stated it was “a technical mistake” and restored the account shortly after. However, this isn’t the first time Instagram, or other social media networks, have wrongfully deleted accounts on the grounds of “inappropriate” content.

Facebook is certainly guilty of this. In the past, when women have chosen to upload pictures of their bodies that do not meet Facebook’s definition of appropriate, we seem to have just accepted it. Society and social media has led us to believe that women should not be proud of their bodies when they do not fit today’s impossible beauty standards.

Thankfully, things appear to be changing. Just last week, famous model Chrissy Teigen posted a photo on Instagram where she openly commented on her own stretch marks. She jestingly told the world that her stretch marks say hi.

Bruises from bumping kitchen drawer handles for a week. Stretchies say hi!

A post shared by chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) on

Shortly after, the hashtag #LoveYourLines started and thousands of women across the globe started to share pictures of their stretch marks. Teigen inspired many different women of all shapes and sizes to embrace their stretch marks and prove that is in fact okay to have them and not to be ashamed or hide them.

As women, we are told to be perfect. We are told to have glossy hair, that our cheekbones must look a certain way, that we need big boobs and an equally big butt as well as a smooth, lump-free body. The truth is that there is no such thing as ‘perfect.’ This kind of thinking has led women to hate their stretch marks. Beauty standards have made women feel ashamed that they have allowed their skin to stretch when what we really should be focusing on and preaching is the fact that it is perfectly natural.

We need to put an end to all this fuss about stretch marks. We should be encouraging other women to feel comfortable in their own skin, whether they choose to show them off or not, instead of putting them down and deleting their Instagram accounts. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of and Chrissy Teigen’s post and the hashtag born out of it shows a huge step in the right direction.

When I was in my early teens, I was thin. Then, I as I hit puberty, I got boobs, hips and bulky thighs that certainly weren’t there five minutes earlier. I got a belly and then suddenly I was no longer thin. Along with this came some stretch marks…

But how could I get stretch marks?! I’m not pregnant! Woe is me, why is this happening to me?!”.

Unfortunately, it has taken me this long to realise that I’m not alone and that I shouldn’t feel ashamed.

It’s time to stop worrying about what people think of you or the way you look, which is why I’m so glad #LoveYourLines has taken to social media as it made me realise exactly this. It’s encouraging to see millions of women sharing a variety of stretch marks and praising one another for doing so.

It’s also encouraging to see Instagram respond to these issues as well. The site recently updated their guideline to allows breastfeeding selfies, also known as brelfies, on its site. We can only hope this progress continues and that women will no longer be told what’s appropriate to share and what’s not.

Remember, “stretch marks are just little lightning strikes, here to remind you that you’re a force of nature”.

Ellie Ledra

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