Thursday, August 20

No Excuses

I'm sure you heard about what happened at We Are The Real Deal. It made my blood boil, it also made me feel very stubborn so I'm reading there and commenting there despite that. What I'm trying to say is that I don't currently endorse them. I respect the ideals and hope it can get back on track but I don't endorse the current atmosphere.

Okay, that aside I'd like to talk about one of the last posts Those Stretch Marks Run Deep by new team member Yum Yuky.

She points out that to her stretch marks are a mark of her pregnancies:

"We earn our stripes daily as we grow the child, birth it with joy at 10 centimeters dilated, and sling it on our hip as we multitask and serve Husband refreshing beverages."

Now it's already been pointed out that Yum Yuky was talking from her own experiences and that she herself got some stretch marks at puberty so this isn't particularly aimed at Yum Yuky herself but...

Every time, each and every time, I see people defending their body based on the fact that they have given birth it makes me feel like a pile of crap.

My hips are wide child birthing hips, my fat didn't come off after my pregnancy, my pregnancy gave me stretch marks. And I've seen more.

See by giving a reason for a 'bad' feature - and quite often I imagine the person writing the statement in unconscious of this - you are giving an excuse. Perhaps giving is the wrong word. Providing possibly. You are providing the reader with a reason that you are virtuous and the other wide hipped, streachmarked fatties aren't.

It sets up a deserving vs. undeserving argument and as an undeserving it makes me feel like crap.

Because people have seen my stretch marks and told me it's odd that I have them. And those people, not Yum Yuky, who are really annoying me here. It pisses me off that my body is supposed to fit a script, and somebody else's script at that.

I don't need to defend my body, I don't need a reason to have stretch marks. I just am and I just have.

I commented on the original post:

I’ve often felt like a freak for this, and I’d like to admit it here.

I have stretch marks.

I have no kids, no pregnancies and –so I’ve been told, at least- no excuse.

They are about half the way down my thighs and there are some smaller patches in my stomach and breasts. When I first got them, around 13, they where bright, bloody red. Now they are white.

For me they aren’t a badge of honour, they aren’t a symbol of something gained, or lost. They just are.


Anonymous said...

Hi, there!

Here via WATRD.

I think you and I share the same sentiments re: stretch marks. I, like you, have never given birth, and, so, like you, I cannot give the reason for my stretch marks this attribution. Which is why I didn't read the post re: stretch marks.

That said, your story, my story, as well as the stories all of the women who read but didn't comment, and who read, and who did comment, have meaning, validity and worth. I think pregnancy in our society is in and of itself considered a badge of honor, and those of us who have not given birth by choice or other circumstances are somehow deemed as unworthy, because we haven't fulfilled our "purpose."

I didn't read the Yum Yucky's post, because, it really doesn't pertain to me. But, as I said, it adds to the diversity of experiences some women have, and which may contribute to their feelings re: their own bodies.

Miss 376 said...

I was 14 when I got stretch marks too, then had some more when I had my children. It's just the skin I'm in

Clare said...

'those of us who have not given birth by choice or other circumstances are somehow deemed as unworthy, because we haven't fulfilled our "purpose."'

Thanks! I did want to touch more on this in the post but I didn't get round to it.

As someone who hasn't and is not planning on giving birth by choice it does make me feel uncomfortable.

I fell it also ties into the rhetoric of the 'real woman'. That she is big because she can or has giver birth.

And yes, I'm very glad Yum Yucky posted about her experiences because when I got mine I had no bloody clue what they where. No one else I knew had them and I felt like an outsider.

I hope that by acknowledging to our 'faults' we can stop tomorrows teenagers from being as messed up as me.

cggirl said...


I agree with you, and I'm glad you posted this. I'm also with you on the WAtRD thing. I tried to politely explain some things on that "apology" post, mostly cuz people had already said all the angry stuff the rest of us were thinking, but I was thinking that stuff too... And I wondered if I should even post comments there.

I also agree about stretch marks. I have stretchmarks too and actually didn't know that that's what they were for a long time. 'Cause nobody mentions it outside of the context of pregnancy.

I also totally hear you on the pregnancy/motherhood thing in general, and how it's supposed to define or womanliness or something, I don't know. It's very highly valued and puts a lot of pressure on women who don't want kids, or aren't sure they want kids... (it's on my mind a lot because i'm doing a project about it.)