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Oh, My Aching Cellulite

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Message Susan Benjamin
This time of year, as summer starts to shine through, the female body reveals itself for what it really is in the hearts and minds of the media: a commodity. Oh sure, you've heard the ads for a slimmer butt, flatter stomach, and cellulite-free skin. But these guys are peddling something more than skin deep.

Let's focus on cellulite for a moment – and why not? Millions of women do. In case you live in outer space and don't know, cellulite is those dimples on women's thighs – what most in media call "cottage cheese" thighs, although one New York Times article prefers "orange peel" skin.

Regardless of culinary comparison, everyone seems to agree that cellulite is "unsightly," "dreaded," and "humiliating" or, as one article simply said– it just looks bad. Tattle-tale articles in unlikely places as "" even report that Uma Thurman has cellulite...on her calves. Can you believe it?

Oddly, in their discussion about the horrors of cellulite, the media admits that 80 or 90% of all women have it: the amount depends on the source. All agree that cellulite is harmless, unlike, say, obesity, and are quick to point out that even thin women have it.

So, it might seem strange that the media also discusses cellulite in purely medicinal terms, quickly transferring a woman's natural anatomy into the equivalent of a dread disease. They discuss "therapies" and "treatments" and claim that all women "are "susceptible to this condition."

No need for alarm: the medical establishment is working hard to find expensive "cures". One is called "mesotherapy" where inflicted women get treated to hundreds of injections accompanied by drug cocktails that break down cellulite fat. According to one New York Times article, no one's exactly sure where it goes from there. Excreted? To the liver? No matter: each session costs about $500 so it's not cheap, which is the point, I suppose.

According to Elle Magazine, other "treatments" include Diode lasers; super-powered massager/vibrators; radio-frequency machines; and so-called Acoustic Wave Therapy which apparently breaks down the tissue holding cellulite in place. Then there's a non-invasive medical procedure that freezes and breaks down cellulite fat. This one was concocted by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Mass General Hospital and was, should you question the effectiveness, tested on pigs.

Creating an illness from a natural state of physical being is nothing new for women who suffer from other non-issues such as unhealthy hair and devastating wrinkles. Yet, the destructive quality works on many levels – self-loathing is only one. It chips away at women's trust in their own biology – some marketers point to loathsome estrogen as the culprit behind the cellulite problem. And it reminds them, yet again, that their bodies exist for the pleasure of others to observe and judge with only a vague and unlikely relationship to them.
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Biography Communications expert, author, and entrepreneur Susan F. Benjamin is founder of Greater Voice Enterprises. Her short features and interviews with everyone from Hollywood celebrities to leading thinkers are aired online and on am/fm (more...)
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Oh, My Aching Cellulite

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