Spanish artist and University of Barcelona graduate Cinta Tort Cartro (known as “Zinteta”) is actively taking a stand against the “ideal” female form by celebrating the so-called “flaws” many of us women share.
Being larger and taller than the average woman, 21-year-old Cartro spent years sharing the same feelings of discomfort and imperfection many of us can relate to. But Cartro is now taking a stand against societal standards and is choosing to transform what others may find embarrassing or ashamed of into gorgeous works of rainbow art.
Stretch Marks and Menstruation to be Honoured, Not Hidden
With over 13,000 followers on Instagram, Cartro has become known for her colourful and dazzling depictions of stretch marks and menstrual stained clothing. What initially was a form of expression has, in Cartro’s words, become a social commentary on our male-dominated culture and a way to raise awareness about how pervasive racism is in her community.
Cartro isn’t the only one celebrating the differences and similarities of women. Celebrity Chrissy Teigen is well known for flaunting her “stretchies” on social media, and Kendrick Lamar’s recent music video for the smash hit “Humble” intentionally zooms in on the stretch marks featured on the thighs of the models.
Many pregnant and new mums are also calling the stretch marks they earned after months of carrying their little ones “tiger stripes”. After all, is there anything more fierce than having a body that can handle pregnancy and labour?
What Causes Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks are incredibly common and are the result of two things:
a) The stretching of the skin
b) An increase of cortisone – a hormone naturally produced by the adrenal glands
A lot of women develop stretch marks in their youth and when they are pregnant. In fact, nearly 90% of women will develop these pinkish to purplish streaks on their bellies, breasts, butt, hips and thighs! After the delivery of your bubs, they will fade to a less noticeable tone, often taking on a silvery grey shade.
Stretch marks can also develop if you experience a sudden growth spurt (like teenagers) or if you have experienced rapid weight loss or gain. The marks are the result of tiny tears in the supporting layers of tissue beneath your skin. Whether you get them or not depends a lot on genetics. They aren’t preventable, so you should embrace them as part of your life’s journey.
How Can You Soothe Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks can be a bit itchy at first, so invest in a moisturising cream with vitamin E or cocoa butter. It can also help to increase the amount of vitamin C you have in your diet, so load up on oranges, peppers, broccoli and kale.
Feel Comfortable In Your Own Skin
From pregnancy to years after the birth of our babies, our bodies change a lot, which can make feeling comfortable in our own skin a bit of a challenge. Here are a few tips to help you along the way:
- Treat your body like you would a friend. Speak to yourself as you would your best friend and appreciate your body for what it is: an amazing vehicle that is carrying you through life.
- If you can’t make it, fake it. Even if you are feeling low, changing your body language can have a positive effect on your hormone levels and help you feel more confident.
- Wear the right clothes. It doesn’t matter if you’ll never fit into that old pair of skinny jeans again. Find clothes that celebrate your amazing curves and features!
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