Cellulite Schmellulite

Being in the beauty industry, I foster some guilt that I profit, in part, by the female desire to look a certain way. I have continued to eschew offering Botox, dermal fillers and 'mini' medical treatments at the spa in spite of the fact that they are terribly profitable because I can't reconcile the money with the damage these more invasive treatments can do to the psyche and the person.

I'm all for self-improvement, I've already had a laser skin treatment and feel pretty comfortable saying there's Botox in my future but I've seen the desperation with which so many women pursue these things. Often it's not to feel better or look a bit younger or boost your confidence. For many women(I'm sure men too but I know less about their feelings here) it's an attempt to repair, however futilely, a severely damaged self esteem and an absolutely skewed and distorted perception of their and other's appearance. These obsessions and expectations have crept into our consciousness and we've let them.

One of the best parts about working at the spa is I see lots of women naked. Seeing all of these different women and their different, very real bodies gives me a more accurate representation of what it is to be woman. When you spend too much time looking at television, cinema, magazines and all the other popular media that present images not reality, you forget what a flesh and blood female really looks like.

This distortion of perception means that most of us measure our own bodies against a standard that isn't even real. These magazines and the industry in general want us to feel bad. Why would we buy expensive anti-cellulite cream if we know that every woman besides a few genetically blessed has cellulite?

How many women dislike or even hate their thighs? They're too big, too wide, too bumpy, too veiny, too soft, too dimply, too fleshy. I have seen thousands of thighs on my waxing table, front and back and you know what? Women's thighs, as compared to men's or major athletes, are voluminous and soft. It's one of the places women store fat, fat that kept us fertile even in leaner times historically. So why don't you pat yourself on the back for your genetic ability to keep the human race going even in times of relative famine instead of lamenting that your not a size 6.

One of my favorite quotes on beauty and reality is from Cindy Crawford who was quoted in Self magazine as saying, “You have to realize that before hours of hair and makeup, even I don’t look like Cindy Crawford.” Even our culturally ideal beauties are not beautiful enough. Photoshop altering of photos is not only the norm, it's expected. Remember the outcry when people found out that the British GQ altered a cover shot of Kate Winslet making her far longer and leaner than she was? *Look at the photo above of Kate Winslet, look at her image in the mirror, it more accurately reflects what she looked like before retouching.

The Dove beauty campaign is still about selling products. Just telling you you're ok, you're natural so purchase our products. It's about leveraging a different angle to make you feel like your beliefs align with theirs. Still, I have to love a company that at least approaches it a different way. I'm a girly-girl, I like washing my face with stuff that feels good, I like slathering a masque on from time to time or washing my bod with soap that smells like fresh cut grass or lavender, but I definitely like the idea of approaching these products as a consumer and not a victim.

Stumble Upon Toolbar



lisa said... August 11, 2008 at 12:06 PM  

Hands down, one of your best posts ever.

Anonymous said... August 11, 2008 at 6:09 PM  

Great post!

I especially 'enjoyed' the pics showing how they photoshopped the movie poster to give that actress a larger chest.. what's next!

It seems like every feature of an actress or model is being digitally manipulated these days. I suppose that's ONE good use of the paparazzi (who I hate): they catch celebrities without their makeup, special lenses and photoshopped pictures.

For instance, here's a video I saw today showing some celebrities who have noticeable cellulite.


Cruel to make an issue out of it, but still a good indication that the famous are human just like the rest of us. :)


~ Angela

MJ said... August 12, 2008 at 8:50 AM  

Love this post. I'm a big fan of the Dove campaign.

formerly fun said... August 12, 2008 at 1:44 PM  

Lisa-thanks, I think about this stuff quite a bit b/c I have two girls(and am one myself) and I want them to not have to spend the amount of time thing=king/obsessing about their physical appearance that most women I know, including myself, do. I'm not sure how to do that.

Jennifer- Amazing isn't it, and these are just a few of the ones where we have the originals or it's painfully obvious. I'm all for beauty but we need the real full spectrum of women, you just can't compare yourself to an image that isn;t even real, I guess it's kind of like a bear lamenting the fact that he'll never look like Winnie the Pooh.
mj- me too, they're trying to sell products no doubt but at least they are reframing the dialogue in a way that isn't hurtful.

Anonymous said... August 12, 2008 at 3:46 PM  


I'm a big fan of the Dove campaign too - and Gok Wan, who - while he does encourage dieting - helps women see themselves as they really are and be OK with that.

I fear that Kate Winslett has sold out. I used to love her more womanly curves, and felt she was the more beautiful for them, but now she seems to have given in and lost weight. So sad.

As to Keira ... I love how the before/after pic tells us that they 'slimed' her waist! ROFL!

Oh, but I want to know who they think they're selling this crap to? It can only be pre-teens and teens? Real women surely don't like it, and men are always saying they prefer curves.

Anonymous said... August 12, 2008 at 7:02 PM  

Great stuff like this is only part of the reason that I left you a little bling over at WRH.

That and the whole dirty pirate hooker thing, which is f -ing hilarious.

Anonymous said... August 13, 2008 at 12:07 AM  

"One of the best parts about working at the spa is I see lots of women naked." Yep, I would definitely think that I had reached job nirvana if I could say this about my job.

One of the best parts of my job is listening to whiny middle-class kids with a self-righteous sense of entitlement.

See, not as good.

Love Bites said... August 14, 2008 at 8:01 AM  

I love the Dove campaign for real beauty. It is SO empowering.

Post a Comment

Ajax CommentLuv Enabled fc364964f7fd2cca9729ec8fc1ef9641