Let’s talk about cellulite. It’s like, totally the worst, right? If you have it, you are clearly failing at life. I mean, why else would people market expensive cellulite-removing treatments? It couldn’t possibly have anything at all to do with making money. Right?
We are taught from childhood that as women, our worth is defined by how closely we match the perfect standards of beauty portrayed in the media. We are taught that aging will ruin us (if I see one more product that claims “age-defying” properties, I’m going to scream), that our wardrobe defines us, and that being overweight is a character flaw. And nothing screams, “You’re a huge, ugly fatty!” like cellulite.
Except that skinny women have it. Models have it. Athletes have it. WebMD says that it “is nothing more than normal fat beneath the skin.” It exists in over 85% of post-pubescent women, and it wasn’t considered unsightly or problematic until Vogue called it a skin disease in 1968. Scarlett Johansson, one of the sexual and beauty icons of our time, an undeniably thin woman, has cellulite. In photo shoots, it’s airbrushed out.
I have heard women bemoan the fact that they’ve been trying to get rid of their cellulite since they were teenagers. Which makes sense given that it is a secondary sex characteristic that develops along with breasts and body hair at puberty. And since it’s not a disease, there is no cure. Profit-hungry people will happily sell you expensive snake oil to help you rid yourself of your natural and healthy shape, but there is little evidence that the creams and treatments have any lasting effect – if they have any effect at all.
It’s an ongoing process, but I’m starting to learn to appreciate my cellulite. Mostly, I’m angry at the beauty industry. I’m pissed off that I have been deceived by unscrupulous people who don’t care how many women they harm in order to make more money. And I am livid that women have been trained to see their healthy bodies as monstrosities.