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Thursday, April 5, 2012

the scourge of womankind, or something like that

For those of you who are unaware, Lauren Conrad is a former reality TV star/current "designer" and "novelist."*** She is also a very pretty young woman, which may or may not be her main talent in life. Who knows? In any case, Ms Conrad, in an article in Glamour magazine this month, related that she recently wore a bathing suit in public for the first time in years while on a beach vacation. Why "for the first time in years"? Well, see, she was traumatized by tabloid photos of herself in a bathing suit with her cellulite circled.

I was apprised of this in this most excellent blog post. Which further lead me to this and the comments thereon. And I've got one thing to say: preach it!

Last summer, while sitting on my beach chair on Crane's Beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts,

at a time where the beach was a lil more crowded than in that picture--by which I mean to say, wall to wall sand chairs, towels, umbrellas, coolers, and people in their swimsuits--

--more like that, but worse--I took my own informal visual poll.

My companion was reading and we were both occasionally availing ourselves of the many, many snacks we always bring to the beach. I was mostly chillaxing, as you do, facing out towards the water and idly watching the hundreds of people walking back and forth past my line of vision. And as I did, it suddenly penetrated my brain, for the first time in 45+ years of beach-going, that all the women over voting age had at least a bit of cellulite when viewed in their bathing suits. Old women, middle-aged women, young women. White women, black women, Hispanic women, Asian women. Moms, grandmothers, and the child-free. Skinny women, fat women, even athletic women. One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish. (Oh, sorry. Got caught in a Dr Suessian loop there.) One of the linked articles posits that 90% of women have cellulite. Well, I dunno if we citizens of Massachusetts and the tourists who come visit us are a particularly lumpy bunch or what, but I'd up that to close to 100%.

And I said to myself, "Andrea. Why the fuck have you spent so much of your life embarrassed by, hating, and trying to get rid of the cellulite on your thighs when, damn it, everyone else has it too?" The answer, of course, is that because of airbrushing (in my youth) and photoshopping (now) I've been forcefed an endless parade of flawless thighs and asses in magazines and advertisements, without realizing that that flawlessness very very rarely exists in nature. Plus, I've had an entire beauty industry focused on selling me shit to solve my "problem." Do I think my cellulite is pretty? No.

I mean, I don't need to draw a big red circle around that mess for y'all, do I? It's not pretty, but it is very normal, and despite the fact that I just referred to it as a mess, it's not anything that should make anyone lose their proverbial or actual lunch. Even when I was fatter and less muscular and it was more prominent, it wasn't any kind of hideous bodily deformity that should terrify small children. It's just cellulite and cellulite is part of being a grown woman for almost all of us. Stop acting like it's OMG THE WORST THING EVAH, tabloids and advertisers. Stop feeding into the cultural phenomenon where all women in the Western world are taught to hate their bodies. Just stop. 'Cause you're pissing us off when we gain just a few seconds of clarity.

Lastly, an online acquaintance recently said something along the lines of not being "able" to wear a bathing a suit this summer, not being satisfied with the state of her legs, and "maybe next year." It made me really sad. Everyone is able to wear a bathing suit. There's no test one has to pass to prove one's worthiness to take off one's shorts.

That's J Lo, who I do believe was named the sexiest woman in the world last year by some magazine or other. Should we tell her to stay out of a bikini?!!???!


***Excuse the sarcastic quotation marks, but we all know how often celebrities write their own books or come up with the ideas for the clothing lines that bear their names, right?

1 comment:

  1. In addition to a resounding YES to all that, thank you for a the link to my next blog. The cool thing about finding a blog I like by segueing from another with a similar writing style is that well, it is OBVIOUS, right? Show me who your friends are and all that...

    Hmm now I have no problem with cellulite, with body shapes or general appearance but will my little horns show (I DO try to cover them up with the little bit of pitiful fine hair that I have but they peak out occasionally, despite my efforts to conceal them) if I ask that those who have not been blessed by sightly (totally made that up) toes and for whom the antifungal medication is not effective, just go ahead cover those things up? I don't mean at the beach or pool or anywhere that one is expected to walk in bare feet or sandals, but for god's sake, when I am trapped online at Kohl's for 30 min, I just don't want those things in my face!
    If you are reading these comments and actually giving any thought to them, you're probably thinking "yep, yep, you're showing your TRUE colors now" "AND you can't even pretend you're drunk 'cause you already admitted you fall asleep when you take one sip of alcohol and that was way too mean for you to have been written in your sleep. That was a conscious thought and you know what? Could you stop commenting on my blog now?"
    Shamefacedly slinking away from this. Did I happen to mention that I suffer from Dissociative identity disorder? Yeah, I'm sticking with that. So much better than admitting I am meanspirited occasionally.