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A Bit About the "Science" of Cellulite

A Bit About the "Science" of Cellulite


Scientific American is reporting on "the science of beauty" this week. Yay! First up: A Q&A about cellulite that makes me want to tear my hair out. Boo. There's a reason we don't cover cellulite creams here, and that's because cellulite is not a big deal. I have a problem with pathologizing a "condition" that most women have; better to accept it than waste time, money, and energy worrying about your thighs. To see why this piece has me so worked up, read more.

This brings us to the interview with Lionel Bissoon, a doctor who specializes in treating cellulite. While it's interesting to understand how cellulite develops, and while Bissoon makes good points about how people need more physical activity and more organic foods, there's something infuriating about hearing a man talk about what a so-called problem cellulite is. For instance, check out how he looks at picture books from the middle of the 20th century: "When you find these pictures, women had perfect legs," he says. "And back in the '40s and '50s they didn't have the computer programs to retouch those photos." Putting aside the idea of "perfect legs," it's not as though retouching was invented with Photoshop; any ridges and bumps were erased by hand. Also, Bissoon would like us all to start wearing thongs because bikini briefs are too constrictive. (Funny, that's the same line I used to get from my freshman-year boyfriend.)

Here's the thing: cellulite is not a health problem, and if it's a "problem" at all, it's a cosmetic one that you can't solve. So while it's always wise to eat well and exercise, there's no point in obsessing over a totally normal part of your body. Especially not when the person calling it a problem is a man whose income relies on women perpetually disliking their thighs.

Photo by Berbercarpet

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