Why 'Tiger Stripes' are problematic.

Charlotte Galer

I'm sure you've seen the posts before countless times, especially if you're friends with alot of mum's. "You're a tiger who's earned her stripes", how motivating and inspiring. As a mother myself I've gained a few extra stripes and on the surface, yes, this is uplifting. I have no need to be ashamed of myself and how I have changed, my useless body which normally trips over its own feet and goes into meltdown if I drink a milkshake was able to produce a whole functioning human being, and an exceptionally cute one if I do say so myself. Pre-pregnancy I never had stretch marks, but now I'm a mother I have earned my stripes.

But what about the millions of childless people across the globe with stretch marks? Almost every man, woman and everyone in-between has stretch marks, whether it be from weight, growth spurts or they've just randomly appeared. Growing up, I didn't know until I was 15 that stretch marks were not exclusive to mothers, it wasn't until I saw them on my slim friends hips that I learned practically everyone has them, that I was actually the odd one out for NOT having them. Since then I have been baffled why people are so ashamed of them? You could say that I didn't understand because I never had them myself, but I would see my friends and it genuinely would not have an impact on how beautiful they were, the marks on my boyfriend have no change in how handsome he is, and I would see celebrities praised for their BRAVERY when showing them off.

Why is something so natural and common only praised when a woman has had a baby? Why aren't teenage girls, or men of all ages accepted for their marked bodies? Don't get me wrong, learning to love your baby body is difficult and sometimes impossible in a patriarchal society that thrives off womens self loathing, and that's an entirely different motivational post all together. But why are stretch marks something that NEED to be earned? Are they not validated unless a large amount of suffering came first (don't @ me pregnancy and child birth are two of the hardest challenges a women goes through)? YES love your new baby body, YES you're beautiful regardless of stretch marks because they literally do not matter, YES they show what you've been through, but stretch marks from any other journey are just as valid, and so are you. You do not need an excuse to look the way you do. 

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