The media’s boring and frankly dumb obsession with adding negative connotations to our physical “imperfections” (which, by the way, are mostly completely natural and normal and healthy characteristics of the human body) eternally taint our perceptions of our own bodies and appearances as a whole.
One repeated offence which I REALLY don’t get is the issue with stretch marks:
- external skin scarring caused by the tearing of a under layer of skin
- mostly caused by rapid stretching on the skin (growth spurts, pregnancy, weight changes, etc.)
- also caused by hormonal changes (puberty, pregnancy, body building, etc).
A quick Google search will show you the common opinions and conceptions of stretch marks (this list has not been edited or created for your entertainment).
“”How to Get Rid of Stretch Marks: 15 Steps (with Pictures)”
“Top 10 Celebrities Who Are Not Safe From Stretch Marks”
“Stretch Mark Removal Treatments – Types, Cost & Results”
“OMG! Models With Stretch Marks!”
“101 Reasons I Hate Being Fat!: #49 – Stretch marks”
I was kind of laughing to myself at the ridiculousness of my research, until I saw the last two examples
Why should it be such a shock that models (human beings) get stretch marks? Yes, models do get stretch marks. I know because, well, I AM a model and I DO have stretch marks. I rest my case.
Secondly, it breaks my heart a little bit that stretch marks are associated with being “fat”, which is in tern associated with being unhealthy and even ugly.
Again, I am living proof of this, having never been over a UK size 8 in my life.
Come to think of it, I’m almost sure that every woman I know has them. Yet we have been conditioned to hate them by our perfection obsessed society. Online and print publications twist words to make it sound like they’re doing us a favour by teaching us how to prevent or reverse these AWFUL SHAMEFUL UGLY imperfections. We’re recommended creams, oils, laser treatments, even skin surgery! Stretch marks’ cousin, cellulite, is another hated body “affliction”, with maybe even more crazy “solutions” for erasion.
Why should we have to go through the effort of attempted removal of things that occur on our body so naturally, wasting money, breeding negativity and demoting our self worth?
I can’t imagine any woman pre-1960’s having anxieties about stretch marks or cellulite. Then again, there was no Photoshop, no Instagram, no televised Victoria Secret catwalk show to weep over. The fashion industry is SELLING A FANTASY. I’m not one of these people that are passionate about the banning of Photoshop but I do think that people, particularly young girls, need to be aware of this. Reality and fantasy can co exist as long as we are strong enough to not allow it to cloud our judgements of ourselves and others.
So next time a magazine attempts to emotionally bully you into hating your stretch marks / cellulite / grey hair / wrinkles / any other completely NORMAL AND NATURAL physical trait, laugh in the face of ignorance. They are your badge of honour, the lines of a map of your life – be proud that you grew from girl to woman. Be proud that you went through the growth of pregnancy to create new life. Be proud that you are at the healthiest weight for your body and not the weight that a magazine tells you to be.
Next time you look down at your hips or the side of your thighs, realise how cool it is to have glistening purple and white lightening bolts etched across your skin. Would a tiger hate her stripes?