get your belly outWomen across the world are daring to bare their colostomy bags and scars as part of a new social media campaign, and I have to say, this is perhaps one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen online.

The "Get Your Belly Out" social media trend was started ulcerative colitis sufferer Victoria Marie in an effort to raise awareness about chronic stomach conditions. "I personally am passionate, driven and inspired to continue working hard at raising awareness for both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis," explains the 26-year-old. "At the age of 26 I feel I have been to hell and back with this illness and it breaks my heart to contemplate how young children cope with such a life changing illness."

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Though the campaign has been running for four months now, it experienced a surge in popularity thanks to aspiring model Bethany Townsend. The 23-year-old Crohn's disease sufferer made international headlines last month when she posted pics of herself sunning with her colostomy bag on full display. In the weeks since, hundreds of women (and some men) have joined the "Get Your Belly Out" movement, snapping pics of their scarred bellies and exposed colostomy bags and posting them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

At the core of the campaign is the message that every body is beautiful. I love this concept. In a world where we consider bikini bodies to be limited to one type of body, this message is not only refreshing, it's very necessary. As someone who has suffered with body dysmorphia and an eating disorder, I find this campaign to be incredibly empowering.

I wish I could say that I love my body, flaws and all, but I don't. I battle with it on a daily basis, but that's not to say I'm not getting better. Social media has played a major role in my recovery. I enjoy participating in and supporting campaigns that encourage people (especially women) to share undoctored photos of themselves, mainly because in this over-photoshopped and uber filtered world, it's easy to forget that most of us are perfectly flawed, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Image via Get Your Belly Out/ Facebook

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About the author

Tanisha Love Ramirez is a freelance pop culture journalist and professional smart alek. She enjoys using breaking lifestyle and entertainment news to talk about gender, race, class, and fitness.

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