Stretch marks, there isn’t a person on this earth who doesn’t have them somewhere on their body. So, it’s about time we start normalising them because well, they are normal.
With so many products aimed at reducing stretch marks and YouTube tutorials on how to prevent them, it is no wonder why so many look at their stretch marks with shame and embarrassment. It is as if we have committed some awful crime and the mark of shame planted on us are stretch marks.
The actual fact of the matter is stretch marks come about from our skin doing what it is our skin does, stretch. Stretch marks appear as our bodies grow and change, be it growth spurts, pregnancy or puberty. If anything they should be celebrated because they are marks that prove we are living and we are growing just the way we should be.
Let’s shut out the noise and start showing more love to our stretch marks and what they represent.
Let’s start by looking at what stretch marks actually are…
Many of us are quite unaware of what stretch marks actually are. All we know from what society has told us; that we need to hide them and feel ashamed for having something as shameful as stretch marks.
Stretch marks are long narrow streaks, or stripes that occur when the skin is stretched too quickly. Pregnancy, puberty, growth spurts and rapid weight gain or loss can all cause stretch marks. Everyone fits in to at least one of those categories.
Stretch marks can appear on any part of the body really, but are most common on the stomach, arms, hips, breasts, upper arms and lower back. You can start developing them from any age, even as a kid! If you are growing and living then it is possible for you to develop stretch marks.
Everyone gets stretch marks but women are most likely to have them
Regardless of ethnicity, gender or skin type, if you have skin you will experience stretch marks to some degree. Women however are most likely to get stretch marks.
The most common reason people feel shame around their stretch marks is because they associate it with weight gain. While in actual fact stretch marks are not related to weight directly. Stretch marks are a result of your body growing faster than your skin. So whether you are thin or larger, stretch marks happen!
They are more common on women’s bodies as women tend to go through more bodily changes than males. Breast growth during puberty, pregnancies (and multiples of them!) all cause our bodies to grow and our skin to adapt to this growth. This is also proves that stretch marks are completely outside of our control. Yet we are made to feel ashamed *eyeroll*.
It feels like women’s bodies are analysed under a microscope. From this we seem to develop this notion that our bodies need to be perfectly toned, hair free with not a blemish or mark in sight. The reality is no one has that type of body, except maybe Barbie.
We are witnessing positive changes with movements such as the body positivity movement but there is still so much pressure on women to have the “perfect” body. The fact stretch marks are more likely for females is just another added pressure body but this is also a very important factor in why we need to normalise them. Girls lets unite and help each other out!
So how can we start to show more love to our stretch marks and cut the shame?
Confidence is key! You should never feel guilty for being insecure but it is important to think about why you are feeling insecure. Is it because you feel that way on your own or because society and social media told you, you should be?
The best way to normalise stretch marks is to show them more and walk with confidence. If you typically wear long sleeves in summer because you are afraid of the stretch marks on your arms showing, ditch the long sleeves and flaunt them. You will be doing a massive favour for yourself and other girls and boys too!
People are more likely to start doing something they’ve been afraid to when they see other people doing it. So while the idea of letting the stretch marks loose might be terrifying, you will be making a massive impact on the lives of people, young and old who have felt shame about their stretch marks.
The first step is the hardest, but it is the most important. Wear what it is you want to wear this summer, put on that bikini regardless of your stretch marks. Delete the photoshop app and post the picture and let the stretch marks shine. Share body positive posts on Instagram that show off stretch marks in all their glory. Together we can do this!
Some body positive Instagram accounts that celebrate stretch marks for all they are…
These body positivity activists commonly celebrate their stretch marks. Give them a follow! Sharing their content is a great way to start normalising stretch marks!