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Rachel Hollis, best-selling author of self-help book “Girl, Wash Your Face” once posted a photo on Instagram while vacationing in Cancun that sparked a national conversation about body image. More than four years later, the conversation is still continuing.
“I had had too much tequila, and I was wearing this bathing suit that had a monogram, and I just wanted to show women on Instagram the monogram,” Hollis, 36, recounted to MSNBC’s Mariana Atencio. “I asked my husband if he would snap a picture. I saw the picture, and I went to go zoom in and crop out my stomach because I’ve carried three bodies in my body, and so I have stretch marks all over my stomach.”
Hollis has four children, but one is adopted.
“I’m in a bathing suit, I go to zoom in and then I’m thinking, this is ridiculous. You tell women to love themselves and look at you about to edit out this photo because it’s not perfect. I left it as it was and then I wrote a post,” said Hollis, who recently released her new book, “Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals.”
Hollis feels pride over shame when she sees her stretch marks. “I wear a bikini even though I have stretch marks because there are so many women who would kill for the opportunity to carry a child in their body and they don’t get that honor,” she said. “And so I will rock these with pride, and if you don’t like it, it doesn’t matter, because this is my body, not yours.”
The post went viral. “It was the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced in social media,” Hollis said. Other women around the world posted pictures of their stretch marks.
“It really was the first time that I understood that women wanted to have conversations about real life, about our real bodies, about what was really going on,” Hollis added. “There’s an old saying, the most powerful words in the English language are ‘me too.’”
“When you hold your hand up, when you tell someone that you’re walking through something or you’ve lived through something or I shave my toes, and I have back fat, and I have struggled in my marriage, it gives other women permission to do the same,” she explained.
“That picture was really the indication that women wanted to have a conversation,” Hollis said.