Cellulite Is Not The Problem, Folks -- Diet Culture Is

Cellulite Is Not The Problem — Diet Culture Is

August 15, 2020 Updated August 16, 2020

Cellulite-Is-Not-The-Problem
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There was one particularly hot afternoon in my mother-in-law’s backyard this summer that I’ll never forget. As my one-year-old son shuffled down the pool deck stairs with me, he begged to have his wet swim diaper taken off. Once freed, he ran around like a happy puppy, his cellulite-rippled butt shaking the whole damn time. As I watched him in total July bliss, it suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks. My son has cellulite, and I’ve never — not once — seen it as a problem. 

So why the hell have I considered the dimples on my thighs to be the ultimate flaw? 

I think back to when I was an awkward preteen in middle school, hating myself into some kind of version of a kid I didn’t even recognize. I self-tanned, dieted, popped weight loss pills, and dressed in whatever style the popular peers around me wore. I also spent an epic amount of time loathing the cellulite on my thighs and ass. Hitting up the local CVS and seeing diet culture-approved creams designed to reduce my “cottage cheese” appearance just made me feel shittier about myself. And although I lived in a skinny body for over two decades, I always felt self-conscious AF about showing my cellulite — and the rest of me — to the world.

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Just a fat, queer mom living her best quarantine life. 🎉 Can we stop demonizing the word “fat”? That would be awesome. Can we stop summing up a person’s overall health by their physical appearance? That would be swell. Could we maybe, just maybe, stop seeing women as merely objects to be picked apart, analyzed, sexualized, and irrationally placed in a backwards hierarchy system? That would be great. Could we puh-LEASE stop idolizing pregnant bodies & then demonizing postpartum ones? That would be FABULOUS. Oh – and could we just fucking STOP allowing diet culture to have us so damn obsessed with our clothing size that we forget the racist, discriminatory, and oppressive origins of its existence in our society? That would be fucking fantastic. The white patriarchy birthed shit like fatphobia. We need a self-love revolution combined with social justice to shift the narrative. It starts with rebelliously choosing ourselves over the industries that profit off of us finding aesthetic problems that aren’t realistically problems. For goodness sake, cellulite was deemed a “problem” by the very industry that wanted a reason to sell cellulite cream! It’s enough to make my head spin for decades. It did, actually. No more. I’m not buying into a system anymore that originally vilified Black women’s bodies, only to morph it into a sick obsession with white, thin ones. ENOUGH. Go live your life. And if someone tells you to lose weight, eat them. Now go to the link in my bio to take action for Black human beings today. 🥳 #effyourbeautystandards #dietculturedropout #shameresilience #fatphobiasucks #bodyliberation #edrecovery #selflove #youareworthy

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Then I grew up, got married (twice!), had a couple of kids, and gained a bunch of weight. And as you can imagine, my cellulite game remained unwaveringly strong. I managed to surprisingly make peace with the physical evidence of motherhood over the past four years through a ton of therapy and self-love work. But there’s still one nagging issue in the back of my mind. I’m at a total loss for why I spent so damn long obsessing over every scar, wrinkle, crease, and line that’s scattered across my body. 

And then one day, I became privy to some miraculous information that helped me rid myself of my dreaded cellulite problem forever. Want to know the secret? It’s a juicy one, so brace yourself. I guess you could say that I’ve stumbled upon the ultimate cellulite removal system. It’s more powerful than any salve, surgery, or tool designed to rid us of this perceived physical imperfection. 

I discovered — drumroll please! — that cellulite being a flaw is a total freaking myth. No, really, that’s it. That’s the whole kit and caboodle. Period. End of sentence.

The twisted truth is that we’ve all been duped into believing cellulite is this curable problem that requires complete eradication. But in reality, it’s just a natural part of our bodies. Don’t believe me? Then allow me to dive in a little deeper for any understandable skeptics out there. 

The first use of the word “cellulite” didn’t even bear the same meaning to what Merriam Webster Dictionary defines as “the deposits of subcutaneous fat within fibrous connective tissue that give a puckered and dimpled appearance to the skin surface.” Back in 1873, two French doctors coined the new term in their medical literature, and their definition referred to certain cells or tissues that were in a state of inflammation or infection. It’s a condition that’s closely related to cellulitis, which has fuck all to do with our ass dimples. 

So how did this medical jargon get warped into a fake ailment that the beauty and diet industries are still making endless bank on? It all started at Vogue Magazine headquarters in the 1960s. They expertly caught on to the media frenzy in France that had women desperately contacting local beauty magazines when doctors and other “experts” suddenly got hired to write articles about the new female affliction known as cellulite. At the time, French folks were all in a tizzy as women began existing in a more liberated wartime atmosphere and enjoyed doing things like — gasp! — cutting their hair short and embracing some of their newfound financial independence. Is it any surprise that at this very moment in time, companies decided to profit off of them by influencing how they spent their money and what they did with their bodies?

Once Vogue saw how effective the French “war on cellulite” was, they brought it overseas in a 1968 cover headline. The title of their ridiculous article? 

“Cellulite: The New Word for Fat You Couldn’t Lose Before.” 

Of course they named it that. Because what woman doesn’t love a good reason to hate their body even more than they already fucking do? 

Thankfully, all is not lost here. Because women are finally speaking out against this ultimate diet culture trickster and letting their dimples fly free as nature intended. And there is one especially fabulous human being who is inspiring us to stop battling against our cellulite once and for all. That gem of an individual is Megan Jayne Crabbe

 

According to the British body-positivity author and social media influencer, it is estimated that at least 90% of cis-gender women have cellulite. In her eye-opening YouTube video, Crabbe breaks down exactly why it is as natural to have as any other part of your freakin’ body. Hell, she even includes Serena Williams, Kim Kardashian, and Beyonce in the list of famous and wealthy women who have all been photographed with cellulite. Then she poses the literal billion-dollar question: if these pop culture icons have all the money and resources in the goddamn world, why do they still have thigh dimples?

“Some scientists actually classify cellulite as a secondary sex characteristic, which means it’s a physical characteristic that develops during puberty along with other hormonal changes, that isn’t directly linked to reproduction,” Crabbe says in her video. “So essentially that makes it as natural as breasts or body hair or vocal changes, in terms of cis-gender women’s puberty.”

Which means that the diet and beauty industries have been successfully scamming us all for a long ass time. And those sneaky little assholes just keep getting away with it. “It’s the oldest trick in the diet industry book,” she explains. “Create a flaw, tell women that they have it, [and] sell them the magical answer that promises to get rid of it.”

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You are so loved. Always. No matter how you feel about the matter, the love is there – it’s deep inside, like a well that never dries up. It’s often hard to access this love, especially if you grew up in trauma. But I assure you, it sits quietly inside of you, waiting for you to feel it. Diet culture, fatphobia, and every other discriminatory system would have you believe that you have to earn, lose, achieve, or people please your way into love. This is such a dangerous lie. Don’t believe me? Then ask yourself who profits off of your self-hate? You certainly don’t. But you can profit in immeasurable ways by slowly, gently, and compassionately leaning into this simple & powerful & life-changing truth every single day. You are so loved, as you are right now. You are so loved. 🦋 #effyourbeautystandards #bodyhairdontcare #dietculturedropout #shameresilience #cptsd #traumarecovery #reparentingyourself #youareworthy

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I don’t know about you, but this literally makes me want to hug every ounce of cellulite on my body, proclaim my undying love for it, and nickname it my forever “bae.” It makes me want to go back in time, hold younger me, and tell her that she was never the problem to begin with. It also makes me want to punch diet culture in the face for being the jackass online boyfriend who won’t stop catfishing me. I cannot stand being lied to, and I get especially pissed off when I find out that the reason for someone’s deception is because they want to gaslight me for their own gain. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what companies selling anti-cellulite products are doing. 

To the profit-driven, oppressive, and discriminatory institutions that have endlessly convinced me to see my body as a never-ending array of flaws, consider the end of this my open letter to you.

Would you pretty please — with a zero-calorie cherry on top — just go ahead and fuck off? No, seriously. Stay away from my fabulous cellulite, or I’ll eat you for breakfast. 

Trusting in your impossible beauty standards is like drinking expensive saltwater, and I’d much rather stay hydrated with the real deal. My natural dimples deserve a much needed break, thanks to you. You may have swindled me out of my hard-earned money, made me feel like shit about myself on a regular basis, and lured me into an eating disorder as a teenager, but you’re sure as hell not getting anything else from me. I refuse to spend another day playing a game that’s never, not once, been rigged in my favor. 

And while we’re at it, you should probably know that I’ve honestly never felt happier in my body than I have as a fat mom with nothing left to lose — besides you, of course.