While social media has obvious downsides (such a timesuck!), what I love most about it is its ability to bring people together. From ways to connect as diverse as support groups to hashtags, people bond over common problems, beliefs, situations, and opinions—and are often inspired or motivated by the solace other members provide. To me, there's nothing more powerful than cyberspace's ability to foster a community of likeminded individuals.
One of the many online movements bringing women together and encouraging them to accept their bodies is Love Your Lines. The movement's Instagram account is accompanied by the hashtag #loveyourlines, and encourages women to submit photos of their stretch marks, or as they call them "tiger stripes," along with their story. In the two weeks since the Instagram launched, the account has gone viral, accumulating more than 40,000 followers and over 150 photos.
The account is curated by two moms, Alexandra Elle and Erika Layne, a writer and photographer duo who started the Instagram after sharing their own stretch mark woes with each other. While they previously didn't disclose their identity to keep the focus of the account on the women's stories, they revealed themselves on a recent Good Morning America segment. In the interview, Alexandra explained the power of Love Your Lines, saying, "It's all about women coming together in an all natural way that really helps motivate and lift each other as sisters."
In that spirit, tales of body acceptance struggles from moms and non-moms alike accompany most of the photos, with many women expressing a desire to embrace the flaws society normally pressures them to hide. Many thank the Love Your Lines account for giving them the courage to start loving their lines, and what they represent. Each photo receives multiple messages of support from other women, praising the bravery and beauty of the submitted photos.
Groups like this that reinforce positive body image are always poignant—because who among us hasn't felt insecure about our flaws? (I know I have, more often than I want to admit.) They serve as a reminder that everyone feels insecure, but the important bit is learning to embrace what makes you unique, and celebrating your body for all it does.
Image: Women hugging via Shutterstock