Justice

Women Are Sharing Pictures of Their Thighs for An Important Reason

Over the past two months, I have been exercising like crazy in hopes of shedding some of the weight I put on when I moved to Los Angeles. Yet no matter how toned I become, my stretch marks, which I've had since high school, won't go away. I have accepted this and try to remember that many of the models I see in magazine ads probably have these marks as well—they just have the luxury of Photoshop.

The viral hashtag #ThighReading reminds me of this in the best way possible. It encourages women to post photos of their thigh lines, scars, cellulite, or other physical "imperfections" to show that body marks are nothing to be ashamed of. Many feel proud of these marks, as they represent growth and life experience:

Twitter user @princess_labia recently told MTV News that she first started the hashtag but that it was not initially intending to launch a movement.

“I wasn’t thinking I was creating a hashtag, ’cause I post pictures of my body and my body ’flaws,'” she said. “I was just sitting on the couch with my legs crisscrossed and I was just looking at my stretch marks and feeling them, because they’re kind of deep some places and yeah, I was just looking at it and I was like, ’Oh, it’s like a palm reading.'”

Soon enough, droves of women began doing the same on social media. Many said they did not realize how common stretch marks are and were pleased to see they were not alone in having them.

“[Stretch marks are] so frickin’ normal, but because we never see any images in the media that are not photoshopped or altered in some way, [we] feel the way the way we look is not normal, when we’re the normal ones,” the Twitter user told MTV News.

In the spring, model Chrissy Teigen shared a picture of her stretch marks on Instagram to show that even celebrities deal with them:

 

A photo posted by @chrissyteigen on

There has been a growing movement lately to promote more realistic depictions in media. As ATTN: has noted before, American Eagle's Aerie's line experienced a nearly 10 percent sales increase after starting its #AerieReal campaign that features non-airbrushed images of models.

"The purpose of 'aerie Real' is to communicate there is no need to retouch beauty, and to give young women of all shapes and sizes the chance to discover amazing styles that work best for them," Aerie's Chief Merchandising Officer Jennifer Foyle said in a statement last year. "We want to help empower young women to be confident in themselves and their bodies."

 

It's time to get REAL. #AerieREAL

Posted by Aerie on Friday, January 17, 2014


Aerie's Instagram page lives up to its promise by promoting images of women of all body types:

 

A photo posted by aerie (@aerie) on

 

A photo posted by aerie (@aerie) on

 

A photo posted by aerie (@aerie) on

Plus-size model Tess Holliday is also gaining traction for promoting body positive messages in spite of some of the criticism she's received for her size.

"Making fun of my body will never make you a better person," she wrote on Instagram recently. "It will never fix the void you feel within yourself, & the issues you have when you look in the mirror. The real issue isn't that I'm fat, or my size, it's that you are scared of seeing someone that is happy AND fat. I don't need to be 'fixed' because I'm not the broken one. History has proven that hate is never the answer .. Close your mouth & open your heart."