Welcome to You Need Help, where you seek advice and we try our very best to give it. This has traditionally been done by way of individual Formspring accounts, Autostraddle’s Tumblr and a Formspring Friday column, which has all been very fun and insightful.
But, because Formspring has a character limit and we’re wildly optimistic w/r/t our time-management skills, we thought we’d go one further and let you use our ASS private messaging to share advice-related feelings, too.
For more info on sending in questions, see the bottom of this post. Let’s get down to bossing people around on the internet! Today we’re going to talk about your smokin’ hot body.
Q: I have stretch marks EVERYWHERE. How do I get rid of them? Please I’m afraid nobody will ever want to date me.
Q: I’m 22 and have stretch marks on my stomach and thighs. Am I doomed? Who will want me?
Q: Is it okay to have stretch marks?
Q: How much of a turn off are quite bad stretch marks to you? please be honest. Have you got them?
A: Firstly, regardless of whether or not it’s true, I’ve decided in my head that everybody has stretch marks. Is this just to make myself feel better? Perhaps. That being said *AHEM* I’ve seen a significant number of naked girls in my general age range over the course of my lifetime and I’m pretty sure most of them had stretch marks. (So do a lot of guys, too, for that matter.) Furthermore, when I answered one of these questions on formspring with the requisite “EVERYONE HAS THEM, DON’T STRESS!” I got heaps of comments from additional formspring users:
+ Stretchmarks are kiiiinda hot. ftr
+ I am a 21 y/o with the same except also on my boobs! I made a decision to stop feeling sorry for myself and push myself to develop other things that make human beings attractive/lovable/interesting
+ Lady with stretch marks: Stretch marks are nothing to be ashamed of, embrace your body, and someone else might too!
+ Heyyooo im 19, 5’8 and weigh 130 and have stretch marks. ITS ALL ABOUT YOUR LOVE BABY, NOT JUST LOOKS <3
+ Almost every girl have stretch marks!! Even Sasha grey and Tori black have ’em!!
So where are so many of you getting the idea that your stretch marks make you a very special exceptionally unattractive snowflake? News flash: you’re not! You’re not special at all! You’re just like everybody else. Welcome to our boat, the buffet is open all night.
Listen, obviously the health/beauty industry depends upon enhancing women’s body-related insecurities to the degree that said women subsequently are interested in purchasing various lotions and creams and potions and spa services to fix said stretch marks. Furthermore, stretch marks have been airbrushed from photos since the beginning of time and therefore there’s no evidence of stretch-marks for you to gaze upon in self-accepting reflection. So perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised by these concerns.
“I’ve got stretch marks. You know, that glow in the dark for some reason.”
So my advice to you would be to deal with it. It’s you! It’s part of you!
When I was 16 and first pondering the possibility of revealing my naked body to other humans I was really obsessed with my stretch marks — the blue/purple lines slashing my hips/ass and chest — and Seventeen assured me that these lines would fade but I did not believe it for one second. But it really happened, they faded pretty quickly actually and most disappeared altogether.
The bruise from the longest fall was perfectly white in a few years. That astounded me most of all.
And you know what else? If you get pregnant or gain/lose weight you’ll probably get MORE stretch marks!! So you better get used to it, lady.
“My hips and thighs are like tigers.”
– Laneia Watson, mother of two
“I got highways for stretch marks, see where I’ve grown?”
Q: I’ve had underworks binders open in a tab for days now. I want one but I feel so weird about it. I don’t know anyone else who wears one. I’m not trans, don’t want to pass, I just want that look sometimes. Should I do it? How do I talk to my girlfriend about it?
A: Well, I don’t think you have to talk to your girlfriend about it, nobody has ever talked to me about it, they just go for it. Speaking of lesbians wearing binders, I asked my girlfriend for her advice re: your situation and now I’m gonna use the information she gave me to answer this question as if that information/insight came from my very own head. Furthermore, this answer will include legitimate thoughts from my very own head as well.
You don’t have to identify as anything or worry about what it means — if that’s the look you want, then that’s all there is to it. If that changes and you start to feel confused about your gender or feel like your feelings about/while wearing the binder are more complicated than you first realized/assumed, then you’ll cross that bridge when you come to it.
What are you afraid your girlfriend might say? “Why are you interested in binding suddenly”? If you’re not sure how to answer it, I’m sure she’d be satisfied with, “It’s a look I want sometimes, no other reason really.” Maybe ask yourself what it is about binding that you’re judging or maybe have fears around, because there must be something negative that you’re imagining she could say about it?
Maybe a good parallel would be a straight girl who’s always been a little tomboyish getting an alternative lifestyle haircut. Maybe she worries the cut will make everyone assume she’s gay even though she’s not, and although she’s got nothing against being gay, she’s sick of being misread or evaluated as a closet case when all she wants is just a cute dykey haircut on her head, not a cute dykey haircut attached to a cute dykey lady between her legs. And sometimes constantly being misread can lead you to frequently question your assertion that you’re being misread, but it doesn’t have to.
Wanting a flat-chested look and wanting to pass or wanting be trans are like, eons apart. Especially if you’re wearing men’s clothes I imagine sometimes it works better with your shirt. Also it doesn’t mean you hate your breasts, either. I have a padded bra I use just for shirts that don’t look right w/o significant breasts, you know?
“I bought a cowboy hat. It’s a look I want sometimes. Doesn’t make me a cowboy.” – my g/f
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Please keep your questions to around, at most, 100 words. Due to the high volume of questions and feelings, not every question or feeling will be answered or published on Autostraddle. We hope you know that we love you regardless.