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Women show off their stretchmarks

EFFIE MANN
Last updated 05:00 16/08/2014

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In the midst of 'makeup free selfies' and the barrage of photographs being posted to social media in response to the pitiable hashtag #FeministsAreUgly; finally there is an empowerment campaign we can fully throw our support behind without feeling it somehow contradicts what we're about.

A new Instagram account, @LoveYourLines, has put the call out for us to change the way we view stretchmarks. By asking women to post photographs of their 'lined' skin, the project hopes to open up a body image discussion and to share a common experience.

The project was founded by two (anonymous) American mothers, who were inspired by a discussion they had shared on how their own bodies had changed after bearing children. They set up the account together, explaining their intentions: 

"#LoveYourLines is a social media photo campaign to help showcase the beauty of the female body. This account is curated by two mommas hoping to make a difference in the world of the female body image. All women of different shapes, sizes and cultural backgrounds are encouraged to submit. We can't wait to see your love lines!"

Within 24-hours the duo was flooded with submissions of gorgeous black-and-white images of women of all sizes and all ages. Perhaps even more interesting than the photos themselves are the captions that accompany them. One woman shares the story of how her kidney failure caused her to rapidly gain weight, and how her stretch marks remind her of the battle she won. A younger woman says she has been "growing" stretchmarks since she was 12. Another writes: "My body has given birth to one beautiful child and is currently carrying two more." 

One of the most moving captions reads:

"I have not (yet) birthed any children, but my body has changed and stretched causing me to have stretchmarks on various places of my body. They serve as a reminder of the years my legs carried me as I sprinted around the track, and the many times I tried to change myself to fit the mold of what I thought society wanted me to look like...smaller waist...smaller legs...smaller everything...then bigger legs...bigger butt...and so on."

According to The Huffington Post, roughly 80 percent of people have stretchmarks, caused by weight or hormonal changes. While pregnancy can leave mothers with 'tiger stripes', the marks can also appear on women who have not yet had children. And yes, even men can get them. 

"I found it interesting that all types of women have stretch marks because I've had them on my thighs since I was a teenager," one of the founders, a 31-year-old wedding and lifestyle photographer, told The Huffington Post. "So even though I'm a mom (which gave me a few more) I've been coming to terms with my marks for a long time now." 

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Judging by the rapidly-growing account, there are many out there who are also grappling with their lines, hoping to empower others by sharing them with the (social media) world.

- Daily Life

Hat-tip: The Huffington Post

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