Artist Paints Her Stretch Marks to Empower Women: ‘Society Sees These Things As Flaws, but They Aren’t’

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Spanish artist Cinta Tort Cartró used to hate her stretch marks. Looking for a way to change how she sees them, Cartró decided to take something that people often see as ugly, and show how beautiful they can be.

“One day I started to see them as a different form,” the 21-year-old, who also works as an elementary school teacher, tells PEOPLE. “I was thinking about aesthetic pressure and I decided to paint my stretch marks.”

Cartró covered her own stretch marks, and eventually other women’s, in rainbow colors, and posted the images on social media. “The response was very potent,” she says.

That idea spurred others, and from there she created her #manchoynomedoyasco series where she shows menstruation with glitter and more rainbow colors.

“The idea is stop with the taboo about periods,” Cartró. “It’s a project that was born to normalize this process.”

For these and other pieces, her goal is to change the conversation around women’s bodies.

“Society sees these things as flaws, but they aren’t flaws — they are things in our bodies and we have to accept them,” Cartró says. “Because if we don’t accept them, we probably we don’t accept our bodies and don’t accept ourselves.”

Through her art, Cartró began to rethink how she sees herself.

“I started to work on my communication with me and my body,” she says. “These were the best ways for me to improve my self-love.”

Plus, she’s received tons of messages from other people her work has helped.

“It’s a way to empower,” Cartró says. “Moreover, it’s a way to fight to stop the pressure that women suffer in this oppressive system.”

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