We all have them. We all hate them. I'm talking about stretchmarks. Every woman I know groans at hearing the word. Although they are inevitable, women all over the world spend a lot of time, effort, and especially money trying to ward off those evil stretchmarks. Even though stretchmarks happen to the best of us there are many women out there who put up a long and disappointing fight against them. Millions and millions of dollars are spent every year on products that claim to treat stretchmarks even though they have little to no effect.

As a society we have commented on the unrealistic images of women that are seen in all forms of media. We rally against these images of perfection that are impossible to attain. There are very few supermodels in the world and yet the average woman feels the pressure to look like one herself. American women spend millions of dollars every year in the pursuit of perfect beauty. Whether it is cosmetic plastic surgery, makeup, hair extensions or over-exercising, many women work very hard at trying to look perfect. No matter how hard they work many of these women will have stretchmarks and all of them will hate it.

There is a plethora of creams and pills out there that claim to treat stretchmarks. Although I have never met a woman who has benefited from these products, they continue to saturate the market and rack up huge profits. I believe that most women know that these treatments are practically futile but for some reason they still buy into them. The quest for beauty and perpetual youth has a stronghold on many women in this country and the world over.

I first noticed stretchmarks on my body when I was about 14 years old. I had a growth spurt in which I grew an inch every month for six months. My clothes didn't fit, my shoes didn't fit, and I felt a bit alien. Neither my wardrobe nor my skin appeared to be ready for such growth. I noticed stretchmarks on my arms, torso, and legs. There wasn't much I could do about it then and there isn't much I can do about it now. At some point I just accepted that the stretchmarks were a permanent feature on the map of my body.

Although stretchmarks can be caused by weight gain, pregnancy, and general growth, we women feel as though we are responsible for them. None of us like having them but almost all of us do. Perhaps we should start to view them as a mark of growth like the rings of a tree. If we were able to put some sort of romantic connotation on the word we may be able to accept them and let go of worrying about them.

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