This Artist Turns Stretch Marks & Period Stains Into Whimsical, Rainbow Art

by Madeleine Aggeler

For the most part, Instagram is a place for posting well-lit selfies, fawning over pictures of sleepy puppies, and keeping up-to-date on all of your ex's activities. Occasionally however, someone uses it as a platform to share art, and make a political statement. This is exactly what Cinta Tort Cartró has done — the 21-year-old Spanish artist uses her Instagram page to de-stigmatize and celebrate the beauty of those parts of women or femme individuals' bodies which have traditionally been considered "flaws."

In her posts, Cartró (who works under the name Zinteta) highlights her subjects' stretch marks with vibrant rainbow stripes, spreads colorful ink and glitter on people's underwear and thighs to mimic menstruation, and places bright flowers on their nipples. Scrolling through her account is like traveling through a joyful, dizzying kaleidoscope of color and glitter and bodies. The images are at once familiar and foreign, comforting and challenging, celebratory and defiant.

As she told Yahoo! Beauty, what started as art quickly turned into something more as she noticed the connections between what she was creating, and what was happening in the world around her.

“It all started as a form of expression, but it quickly turned into social commentary of the male-dominated culture we live in," she said. “There are many things happening in my town that I couldn’t be silent on, such as the male microaggression toward the female body. I know there are countries that have it worse than here in Spain, but I couldn’t stay silent.”

Through her work, she hopes to encourage people to love and accept their own bodies, including, and maybe especially, those parts of it society has deemed unappealing. In addition to accentuating stretch marks, and using the hashtag #freethenipple, for her period pieces (no pun intended) she uses the hashtag #manchoynomedoyasco, which translates in English to "I stain myself, and I'm not grossed out by it."

“All bodies have stains, hairs, freckles, stretch marks, curves, lines, wounds, wrinkles... and all are equally valid," she wrote in the caption for the photo above. "It is time for us to begin to love ours because, after all, this is our tool of communication with the world. And if we do not like the tool we use for it, we can hardly feel free.”

Cartró also wants her work to highlight racial and cultural diversity, something which she feels is undervalued in her community. “I don’t like the way foreigners are treated sometimes here. I’m all about embracing those that need help so everyone can live a great life,” she said.

And while Cartró's art tackles big, global problems like sexism and racism, the issue of self-acceptance is one that is deeply personal to her.

“I grew up feeling sometimes out of place. I’m tall and big, so it’s important for me to state in my art that everyone is beautiful and those ‘flaws’ are not that. They make us unique and special.”