Over the weekend, two very different conversations about stretch marks began.
Somewhere in Los Angeles, Kim Kardashian was visiting her doctor and undergoing a procedure to have her stretch marks removed. Afterwards, she decided to share an update with her millions of followers.
Elsewhere in the world, clothing line Lane Bryant shared an image from their ad featured amongst the pages of the latest Sports Illustrated issue. The photo shows model Denise Bidot, with stretch marks lining her stomach. Bidot frequently speaks out about embracing your body type and has even started a brand called . The ad screams confidence, beauty and inspiration. Literally.
Two very different conversations about stretch marks. Two very different reactions.
Immediately after the Lane Bryant ad surfaced, the company was heralded as "groundbreaking", "body positive" and "inspirational".
And it's true—they are all of these things. Lane Bryant consistently publish advertisements showing an array of body types, and we love them for it.
This image in particular is groundbreaking enough to be featured amongst the pages of Sports Illustrated's famous swimsuit issue, a yearly tradition that places the focus on women wearing small bikinis.
But when Kim Kardashian is honest about her desire to remove her stretch marks, she's branded "anti-feminist", "a disgrace", and "a bad role model".
Why? Because she wanted to make a decision about her body and she has the money to do it? Who are we to tell anyone what to do with their bodies?
"I feel so excited that I finally did it," Kardashian shared.
"I've been so scared to do it, thinking it hurts so badly, and it didn't hurt that badly. So I'm so grateful and I'm so excited. I love you, Dr. Ourian!"
See below, the stretch mark removal procedure in progress. Post continues after video.
The argument that plastic surgery—or, in this case, a non-surgical procedure—promotes a bad message to women is outdated. It's a prime case of women tearing each other down for their life decisions, not lifting women up.
You can clearly see that in the comments section on Kardashian's photo.
"You should embrace your body," one commenter writes. "It really isn't realistic to have two children and pretend that your body should look so flawless. Having children comes with stretch marks. Love yourself, Kim."
"Maybe it's better to spend that money on charities and more time with your kids verses beauty treatments," another writes.
Do you see what I'm seeing? Women telling another woman how she SHOULD feel, what she SHOULD do with her money, with her time.
When really, it's none of our business.
None of this is. If Lane Bryant want to promote a model with stretch marks, good for them, and for that model who loves her body, looks sensational and wants to show it off. But we shouldn't drop everything and demand all women show off their stretch marks. If Kardashian wants to laser away her stretch marks, it doesn't mean she's covering up her two children. It means she's making a choice that will make her happy. And that's the most important thing, isn't it?
Whether you show off your stretch marks or hide them, you're making a choice to do so. And no one else is allowed to tell you that your choice is wrong.