Dont hide your cellulite, stretch marks, or extra skin. Instead, find motivation, support, and self-confidence in this movement.
When the skin is stretched due to rapid weight gain, a form of scarring with a difference in color causes stretch marks to appear. These marks are irreversible, and in most cases, they are just impossible to eliminate. Although there are creams and treatments out there that promise prevention and removal, many dermatologists don’t see another remedy for it except for expensive laser treatments and plastic surgery. Stretch marks are a problem for many women, especially those who have been pregnant. According to the National Institute of Health, “Stretch marks developing during pregnancy occur in 50% to 90% of women.”
The problem with stretch marks is that they don't fit society's expectations that a woman's skin should be smooth, even, and spotless. Thus, they label a woman’s cellulite, stretch marks, or jiggly skin as unpleasant, undesirable, and a reason for them to be body shamed. This causes insecurities and discomfort in women who can't do that much to prevent the stretching of their skin, especially when it comes to carrying another living being in your body for nine months. For that reason, a social media campaign was launched to let women share photographs in which they proudly show the marks that were caused by weight gain, muscle development, pregnancy, and many other factors. The movement is called “Love Your Lines,” and these are some of the gorgeous black-and-white pictures that were shared by followers.
The campaign started in 2014, founded by Erika Salazar and Alex Smith. Their intention was to celebrate women in a positive way and give them confidence as well as security. The movement tells young and older women that it is okay to have marks on their body, and that for no reason, they should be considered flaws or something embarrassing – nor should there be a reason for others to judge. Many of the posts include stories from real women who came forward as proud stretch-mark carriers. Here is an example:
I was a young bride married away at 18 in a typical South Indian arranged marriage, and at 20 I had my daughter. In South India, women are still looked down upon if they wear "western" clothes . They are considered modern and judged as too strong and independent to marry. Although we love to assume that such stigmas do not exist, it sadly does... So, by submitting a picture where I embrace my sexuality and my lines proudly, I hope to shatter the societal norms that withhold women from celebrating who they are despite the way men look at women, as just objects of reproduction who cannot live by their own rules...
The movement has evolved from posts about stretch marks only, and other followers have submitted photographs of lines caused by different factors like surgery, weight loss, burn marks, and even self-cutting scars. The success behind the Instagram and Tumblr accounts, which are full of artistic poses and inspirational quotes, is due to the positive and motivational comments other users leave on every post. The accounts have become a platform for many to find support and confidence in themselves. You can submit a picture anonymously, and even cover your face. In response, other followers reply with comments like “We love you” and “You are beautiful, don’t forget that.”
What we see in these photographs is not only fearless women who aren’t ashamed of showing their body, but a campaign that wishes to end the stigma behind body "imperfections." There are many things out there that can cause the skin to carry a permanent mark, and if we allow others to express a hateful or distasteful comment about a person’s body, we are helping shame the beautiful women behind this movement. I personally love the photographs where women appear next to their babies because they show that scars can remind us of accomplishments and new chapters. If you love your lines, like these women do, you can check out their account and even join the campaign by sharing your own photographs.
Photos by: @loveyourlines