Keeping a high level (or any level) of self-confidence isn't easy for most women. Our insecurities can stem from something you were teased about in school, changes in your looks due to age and stress, or maybe you simply never liked your feet. Now imagine whatever you're self conscious about being photographed and analyzed by thousands of people on a regular -- even daily -- basis. Circled perhaps. With arrows point at all your flaws. And don't forget the comments. Kind of a nightmare.
There I sat, a 25-year-old beauty editor living in the fashion and beauty capital of the world, looking at my profile picture and briefly wondering if I'd really go through with it. There once was a time not too long ago when the idea of posting my bare face to Instagram -- land of unrealistic beauty standards and perfectly Facetuned Insta-models -- was unthinkable. No-makeup selfies were for celebrities with perfect skin only. At least, that's how I felt. But, like I said, that was then, so I proudly pressed 'post' -- and felt no regret. You see, nowadays, I have a genuine belief that beauty isn't so much about unicorn highlighters and a perfect cut crease (though I love those too). When I look in the mirror, what I regard as beautiful is a strong sense of self and an appreciation for my natural features. I hope one day this will be the accepted and appreciated norm for all women.
Whether you've had a baby, lost weight or simply grown during your lifetime, chances are you have stretch marks -- and that you've tried to hide them at some point. Perhaps they've prevented you from wearing your short shorts or rocking that itsy bitsy bikini on a hot summer day. But with an estimated 80 percent of Americans -- all varying in weight, age and parental status -- marked by tiger stripes, why are we all trying to live up to the statistically unrealistic standard of having baby smooth skin? Sure, you could spend countless hours trolling the internet for ways to get rid of stretch marks, but wouldn't you rather click through this slideshow of body positive women who might get you to see your stretch marks in a new way? No weird at-home remedies or overpriced laser treatments -- just pure, unfiltered confidence.