Is This Where “Cellulite” Began?

A tight-knit group of women expressing their body positive joy. Have you wondered where the term cellulite came from? Read our article to learn more.

The truth will prevail. Except, in relation to our own body image, the truth is difficult to find. Steeped in a diet culture that promotes the myth of the perfect body, our body image is based on media-driven standards, not anything that is based in truth.

But when you happen to come across the truth, it leaps out at you like a ray of sunshine through storm clouds. It makes so much sense. And it's beautiful. 

“Cellulite is Not the Problem - Diet Culture Is”

We recently stumbled across an article on the Scary Mommy Blog that was just such a revelation. Needless to say, the title “Cellulite is Not the problem - Diet culture Is” caught our attention.

The article’s author, Lindsay Wolf, relates her own body image journey, from preteen to Mom of two and beyond. In the very first paragraph, Wolf tells us about the moment the sun broke through the clouds and lit up the truth for her.

Without going into all the details, Wolf gets into the origins of the term “cellulite”. It was first used by French doctors to describe human cell tissue that was inflamed or infected. In other words, in its original form, “cellulite” had absolutely nothing to do with the harmless dimpling of the skin that we call cellulite today, but was somehow twisted into that definition over time.

Where “Cellulite” Began in North America

In her research, Wolf discovered what may be considered the moment that “cellulite” became a thing in North America. Seizing on the popularity of European articles about what was now considered an affliction, the editor’s of Vogue magazine made it the subject of a 1968 cover headline: “Cellulite: The New Word for Fat You Couldn’t Lose Before.”

There is perhaps no other single headline or article that has caused so many people so much anxiety, depression and self-loathing. For no reason other than to sell a magazine.

As Wolf goes on to reframe cellulite for what it really is, a natural aspect of our bodies, she highlights research done by Megan Jayne Crabbe, a British body-positivity author and social media influencer. 

According to Crabbe: “Some scientists actually classify cellulite as a secondary sex characteristic, which means it’s a physical characteristic that develops during puberty along with other hormonal changes, that isn’t directly linked to reproduction. So essentially that makes it as natural as breasts or body hair or vocal changes, in terms of cis-gender women’s puberty.”

What Does It All Mean For Your Cellulite

First, on the heels of the body positivity movement and the efforts of people like Wolf and Crabbe to normalize it, you can be more comfortable with your cellulite. Happier in your own skin.

And, just like you may want to occasionally style your hair, or get your makeup done to help your own beauty shine through, there’s nothing wrong with taking steps to improve the appearance of your cellulite. 

From eating a balanced diet and getting more active, to wearing compression shapewear, like Secret Slim Compression Shorts, you’ll look your best and feel your best too.

To learn more about the benefits of compression shapewear, check out our post “Just What Are Compression Leggings Good For?”.


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