“My cellulite doesn’t make me less of a woman..neither does my less than perky breasts or my inability to justify why I should have to hide my body.” — Tess Munster, (an actual plus)-sized model.
I had to repost this because what I could say about this makes up an entire essay.
I don’t think most people realize what is going on here, which is why it is not directly addressed. Weight stigma is a feature of sexism, it is a strange mixture of the overt and covert to continue to place the status of all women below all men. When you follow the logical thread, it is easy to see, but most people don’t follow the logic.
So here’s the logic:
A person or more than one tells a woman like Tess her cellulite makes her less of a woman. Cellulite occurs more frequently (80-90% according to Wikipedia) in women then it does in men (in men it is marked as rare and most often found in men who have hormonal problems). Ergo, cellulite may actually be said to be far more of a “womanly” trait than the lack of cellulite, not just because it is more prevalent in women, but because it is more prevalent THAN NOT in women.
Cellulite is caused by a basic difference in the skin of men and women, which is why the idea that cellulite is a “fat” person’s problem is wrong. Men can gain a lot of weight and not show signs of cellulite. Women can gain very little and yet cellulite can begin appearing, even at a young age. Its obvious that this is a sign that it is less an issue of enlarged fat cells and more an issue of the way the fibers in between women’s fat cells act.
A simple Google search shows you the differences.
However, because cellulite does have to do with fat cells, it will forever be tied with being fat.
I bristle because it’s not a question of “when” a woman gains weight or how much or whatever, it is simply a fact. Women are more padded than men, we are made to carry more fat. Fat is supposed to be more prevalent in women than in men, even when its prevalence in all women can vary greatly on other factors. Body hair is comparable. Not all men are super hairy, not all men are hairless… but when you compare men to women, there is more of a prevalence of body hair in men than in women.
This is just the way things are! It’s natural. Men and women are different. It’s only an issue our current society because of the way gender is constructed, and the way in which those who want to keep the status quo by trying to reinforce those things that are constructed with the presence of real physical differences. Ie, men should continue to be in charge of business because men actually are more competitive, scientifically speaking. That is the sort of thing which a man would put forward to justify not promoting a woman, and yet that is crap because such personality differences are really dependent on the individual. No two men are going to be as competitive as each other, and a woman may be far more competitive than a man.
Playing up the physical differences, however, is a great marketing scheme. Because of this, men are afraid to use soap that is made for women and women disdain using shaving cream for men, and men have special hair dye to get rid of their gray, and women MUST have cellulite removing cream to make them “normal.” Normal as defined by men’s skin, apparently, because the actual normal for women IS CELLULITE.
It’s a bad thing because the male body is still accepted as being that which we all must obtain, in certain ways, at least in terms of fat storage and skin smoothness. It is obvious that this standard is set by men’s skin. If it was set by a woman’s skin, then we’d probably have cellulite CREATING products. It is a socially defined problem, much the way in which skin color is socially defined. In places where skin is darker, there are skin bleaching products, and a push for less sun exposure. In places where being white means you are VERY white, tanning products are common. Yet, when one group looks at the other, both are flabbergasted as to why the other would want skin that is different.
Simple, you can’t profit unless you set up a fictitious norm. It’s easy to do so in terms of cellulite. All we have to do is look at a man’s smooth ass and boom, you got a norm to strive for.
Were we to actually begin to raise children in a solidly equal world, in which gender and sex were both seen as what they are, complex and overlapping, instead of mutually exclusive dichotomies, the idea that there “shouldn’t” be cellulite on a woman, that it is “unwomanly” would disappear. In other words, we would just accept bodies as they come… with hair, with cellulite, with muscle, with fat, with whatever and without whatever. We would truly embrace diversity. Because WE ARE DIVERSE, even within the sexes. That is the nature of being human. A species of clones would not last very long.
Yes, there are real physical differences between most men and most women. But the differences in hormones and brain chemistry mean very little outside of the meanings given to them by culture. The differences are complimentary more than anything else and represent centuries of evolution to create a species of humans which absolutely MUST have both males and females, complete WITH their physical differences, to be successful. Gender is just a defined covering laid over these differences, the way clothing is laid over our skin. It disguises and complicates and confuses, but it is really only as necessary as the people who wear it perceive its necessity.
Cellulite must exist: it is a thing that women have. Women must exist, or there would be no human race. So, it would be nice if people just got the hell over it already. Yes, my ass skin is dimpled. No, I refuse to spend a dime on getting rid of my dimpled ass skin. That is money I earn which I’d rather spend on things that make me happy, instead of on products that don’t work and would make me frustrated and unhappy.