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No matter how we get stretch marks — through weight fluctuations, breast development or augmentation, exercise that builds muscle quickly and thus stretches skin, or pregnancy — the general response to them in our culture is "Ew." Stretch marks are those white streaks that appear when your body, for whatever reason, grows fast enough to break the elastic fibers under the skin's surface — and people of all shapes and sizes experience them.
The insecurity that surrounds this natural phenomenon is what inspired two East Coast moms to create the Instagram account @loveyourlines, to honor and celebrate the "tiger marks" we bear. Women of various body types, from around the world, are sharing their stretch-mark stories and photos on the account, using the hashtag #loveyourlines. The moms who created @loveyourlines have asked to remain anonymous, but have shared that they are overjoyed with the outpouring of emotion, self-love, and support their account has sparked: It's amassed more than 25,000 followers since its first post on August 12, and that number continues to grow.
"#LoveYourLines is a social media photo campaign to help showcase the beauty of the female body," the account states. "This account is curated by two mommas hoping to make a difference in the world of female body image. To submit your photos, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. All women of different shapes, sizes, and cultural backgrounds are encouraged to submit... We can't wait to see your love lines!"
Click through to view 10 of the most striking #loveyourlines photos and the stories behind them.