Collistar 2011

Cellulite – a Human Right!

 It never fails. When spring starts, so does the propaganda about cellulite treatments and lotions. From meters long billboards, commercials and magazine ads you will be attacked by images zooming in on the thighs, hips and buttocks of a photoshopped well-lit 17-year old model who works her diminutive butt off to stay in shape like a Navy S.E.A.L… The message is clear: “You should look like this! And you could – if only you will diligently use our new revolutionary scientifically-proven…(your ad here).”. If you feel targeted, you are right on point. Because you are a target; as a woman you are safe nowhere.

You might think that I am overreacting, but consider this: Cellulite (not to be confused with cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection) affects 80-90% of all adult women (18+), regardless of ancestry – although it is slightly more common among Asian and Caucasian women. That means that besides you and me, there is roughly other women (and also some men) out there, who are walking around with small dimples on their thighs and buttocks and potentially feeling bad about this natural phenomenon.

And it is natural – no matter what ads might try to tell you. Cellulite doesn’t appear because you are overweight, full of toxins, have been drinking too little water, too much coffee, exercising too little or been an “unhealthy” person in general.

Anti-Cellulite Campaigns SS2011 In spring 2011 I participated in a college competition about depicting the negative sides of today’s society. As my motive I chose the many many billboards with anti-cellulite ads which were placed within a 1-mile radius in the sleepy Mediterranean city Capodistria-Koper where I was studying at the time.  The pictures were only made more interesting with capturing the normal women of all ages passing by these blown-up images of overly smooth butts and thighs. I wonder what they were thinking about the whole thing.
 Cellulite appears mainly because it is genetic and you are simply either disposed or (more rarely) not disposed for it. It is true that a very unhealthy lifestyle can make matters worse, but even if you eliminate all the negative lifestyle factors, you might only see a slight improvement and the question is then if it is worth it? Exercising regularly and a balanced diet are things which are good for every single cell in your body and I would be the last to dissuade you from going in this direction, but “eliminating” (which is not really possible) or reducing cellulite should not be your main reason for doing so as chances are that you will be sorely disappointed about the results for exactly this body concern.

Let me give myself as an example; I am 29 years old, 173 cm (5’8’’) tall and weigh 65 kg (143lbs). 10 years ago I weighed approx. 10 kg less (so 121lbs). But I had cellulite then and I have cellulite now, and even during years where I was exercising a lot and also a half-year period where I wanted to “detox” my diet, I also had cellulite. Maybe there were occasionally an improvement or worsening, but it was within the span of ± 5-10% and therefore not really any conspicuous change. At least not anything that was worth excruciating workouts or eliminating sugar from my diet.

Something which is definitely not worth your time, and more explicitly your money is any kind of lotion, herbal tea or treatment (lymph drainage, electrolysis etc.) which claims to be able to reduce or eliminate your cellulite while tightening your skin and/or slimming your thighs and hips etc. To some level, we all want to believe beauty ads and commercials which state that some cosmetic concern can be solved in a matter of weeks or months, but it is very rarely the case. And when you really think about it, it seems obvious that if a product was really able to “melt”, “restructure” or “dissolve” fat cells (which is what cellulite is) – whether by increasing blood flow or decreasing water retention or however they explain the mechanism – it would not be an over-the-counter product which can be bought by just about anybody.

So the real advice is: Get comfortable with your cellulite; it’s there to stay – as it is on other women and girls. Stop comparing yourself to the photographs on billboards, Instagram and in magazines – basically all women not in your realm or captured by your own camera. Photographs are no longer depicting reality.

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