Within the last few years or so, there has been a powerful social movement encouraging women to embrace their physical flaws. Whether those flaws be stretch marks, excess weight, imperfect skin, wrinkles, fat rolls, the inability to squeeze into a certain clothing size, or worst of all – the dreaded cellulite – celebrities and beauty industry experts alike have been attempting to set positive examples for the everyday woman. But is this necessarily a step in the right direction? Is it really good for women to accept themselves the way they are if it compromises their health and wellness goals? Seeing as how we’re basically the cellulite experts, and cellulite is a hotly debated cornerstone of the body positivity debate, we decided to take a deeper look at this movement. You may be surprised to learn what we found.
Celebrities Who Embrace the Movement
The fact that there are some very high-profile celebrities who have been embracing this movement lately is what piqued our curiosity in the first place. One of the most influential supporters is a rising star in the modeling industry today: Ashley Graham. As a matter of fact, at a recent photo shoot, She recruited the “Power of Paparazzi” to snap some natural images of her beautiful body, cellulite and all, so that she could let people know how fearless she is in the face of her lumps, bumps, and cellulite.
Pop singer, songwriter, actress, and entrepreneur Demi Lovato has also jumped onto the bandwagon in recent weeks. It’s no secret that Ms. Lovato has struggled with body image issues and self-confidence for many years. Indeed, cellulite aside, she is a positive role model to young women and girls everywhere who, for whatever reason, are struggling to love and respect themselves the way they deserve. Her recent Instagram posts Include captions referencing her stretch marks, loose skin, lack of a thigh gap, and (of course) her cellulite, all followed with “…and yet I still love myself”. Her reasoning for the exhibition? “Someone needs to show my fans and anybody that’s looking at my account that what you see isn’t always what’s real…I’m imperfect and that’s what makes me beautiful.”
Even famous people from across the pond are throwing their hats in the ring. Ashley James, most known for her role on the popular British hit Made in Chelsea, took some less-than-flattering photos for her own Instagram account. She wore a two-piece Lacy white lingerie set in two very different snapshots which she then uploaded to her account. The first was taken in fully styled hair & makeup from an extremely flattering angle. The second image posted several minutes later showed her with makeup removed, imperfect lighting, and deliberately posed in such a way as to accentuate her cellulite and other “flaws”. While the caption on her natural photo was as lengthy as it was meaningful, the most important part which stood out to our editors was this: “Cellulite, stretch marks, gravity catching up with natural boobs…are things we ALL have so whilst I encourage health and fitness goals, do it for your own happiness and not because you aspire to look like someone else.”
Can Too Much Body Positivity Harm Women’s Health?
Regardless of your moral or ethical position on the body positivity movement, there is one area where it is vulnerable to some constructive criticism: health. Granted, the presence of cellulite (or lack thereof) is not a medically accepted measurement of whether or not someone is healthy. However, there are some metrics which directly contradict the inspirational platitudes often touted by the body positivity movement. For example:
- A BMI of less than 18.5 or more than 24.9
- A waist measurement greater than 31.5″
- A waist-to-hip ratio greater than 0.85
To be fair, two of the three metrics in the list above have some very valid criticisms of their own. The Body Mass Index (BMI), for example, doesn’t evaluate the individual mass of bones, muscle, adipose, and other miscellaneous tissues relative to one another. A person could have heavy yet healthy bone and/or muscle mass relative to their overall weight, but still be considered “overweight”, “obese”, and vulnerable to chronic disease according to the BMI scale. Waist measurements come closer to determining whether or not you are healthy (compared to the BMI, at least), but a 32″ waist on a woman who is 5′ 1″ means something entirely different on a female who is 5′ 11″.
The closest medical metric humans have devised to forecast metabolic disease is what is known as the waist-to-hip ratio. This involves measuring your waist and hip circumference, respectively, and dividing the former by the latter. The closer you get to a whole number, the farther into the danger zone you are. This is because the more weight you carry around your waistline relative to the other areas of your body correlates extremely closely to diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and metabolic syndrome (just to name a few).
The Body Positivity vs. Health debate begs a very serious question, though: should women abandon the mental health benefits of loving their natural self if doing so leaves them vulnerable to other diseases? Or, since we’re all going to die sometime, is it more important to be happy even though your compromised physical health will shave years off your lifespan? This is a question that no one, no matter their area of expertise, can answer for anyone but themselves. At the same time, however, it is some very important food for thought.
At the end of the day, we’re not insisting that every woman who isn’t absolutely flawless obsess over what she doesn’t like about herself and break her back trying to achieve her – or society’s – ideal of perfection. But we think every woman can find a healthy balance between the “what’s different makes me beautiful” approach, and pursuing measuredly ambitious self-improvement. We here at AntiCellulite.Com don’t think it has to be one way or the other. If you feel confident and happy with yourself, cellulite and all, we’re happy to let you know that you don’t need us, and more power to you for it! But if smooth skin and the elimination of cellulite are still a part of your health and wellness goals, we want to make sure you pursue it in a safe, affordable, and healthy way.