Cellulite: Another Way to Make Us Hate Ourselves

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.

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.

Scarlett Johansson, just one of many huge, ugly fatties.

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.

Just one of many cellulite "cures." The name implies that not only will your unsightly dimples disappear, but you'll also magically become skinny if you rub this cream on your fat.

Just one of many cellulite “cures.” The name implies that not only will your unsightly dimples disappear, but you’ll also magically become skinny if you rub this cream on your fat.

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.

2 thoughts on “Cellulite: Another Way to Make Us Hate Ourselves

  1. I never buy into the cellulite ‘cures’, but I can totally see some women doing that. I guess I never bought into it because I was always kind of bigger once I was in my mid 20’s AND I was never ever confident about my body. EVER. So what would be the point of buying it?

    I agree with everything you’ve said here. Great writing. I guess now I’m wondering is there any way to reverse this training we’ve received? I too am super pissed about these ‘beauty’ companies taking money hand over fist from women who don’t really need their products in the first place.

    If these companies are run by old white dudes – is there a way we can profit from their insecurities? lol

    Like

    • Thanks for posting, insperata!

      I wish I had an answer about how we can reverse our training. I think that making as many people aware of the problem as possible is the first step.

      And the problem definitely isn’t just old, white dudes. I’ve know plenty of women who sell cellulite “cures” to other women because they buy into the hype.

      We as a society need to dramatically shift our concept of beauty. Just because cellulite is natural doesn’t mean that people don’t think it’s ugly. Even knowing how messed up everything surrounding cellulite is – I still struggle with believing that my cottage cheese thighs and butt are sexy. It’s a work in progress.

      Like

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