When I buy an orange, I never stare at the orange and wish it had smoother skin. I never imagine that an orange’s peel should be anything but bumpy. It is what it is, and what it is has completely informed my idea of orange-ness.
I think, in fact, if I saw a completely smooth-skinned orange, I would think to myself, “Now what manner of fruit is this?” All other things being equal, the weight, smell, taste, structure of the orange being exactly the same, functioning in exactly the same way as every orange I’ve known before it – if it were a smooth-skinned orange, I would think it was a strange, bizarre, “other-fruit.” I would be suspicious. I’m not sure I would ever form the notion that the smooth-skin fruit was better or somehow more attractive than the bumpy-skin fruit.
And yet, societally, this is just what we’ve decided in regard to our tummies, thighs, butts, arms. We women, that is. We’ve decided smooth is better, prettier than dimples. We made up our world-wide communal minds about it, and we’ve remained obsessed about it for decades. We have in fact, through the power of our own desire for smoothness, created vast markets for cellulite treatments, services, surgeries, “cures.”
Please don’t write to me with all the crapola about male-dominated, advertising-invented images of female perfection. First, advertising creative staffs are not dominated by men. These many-gendered staffs do, however respond to what women say, think, feel, want and of course, most importantly, to what they DO.
We women vote for our advertising images in focus groups and with our own dollars every time we buy the product draped over the airbrushed model. We vote for those images with our cellulite-crŠme dollars. We invent this idea of beauty through our own communal tastes. Advertisers are mirror-holders. All they do is respond to what we say we want. And we women say we think women should have smooth butts, thighs, tummies rather than dimpled ones. We say it every day, thousands of times a day, millions of dollars a day.
Every time I’m naked before a mirror in a room that is brightly lit (something I avoid, still), and that bright light falls on my thighs, I struggle with conflicting ideas. Idea 1: there’s nothing in the world wrong with dimples. Idea 2: Maybe surgery would help.
Idea 2 I quickly dismiss. That route, for many reasons, is not for me, though thigh-lifts and buttocks-lifts do diminish the dimples for many women. We’re not talking liposuction here. lipo is for getting rid of fat buldges, but does nothing for the dimples.
When I was heavier, my dimples weren’t very noticeable, and weren’t an issue anyway, because I kept my body covered and never looked in a mirror when I was naked. Now I have the option of wearing shorts and sleeveless tops, and now my skin is quite a bit softer, less elastic. Though I’m quite fit and at a good body weight and a great bodyfat ratio, the structure of my skin on my thighs is dimpled. And the dimples are deeper and more obvious after the weight loss.
I could pay a thousand bucks or so every few months for deep tissue massage. Or I could just get over it, and enjoy owning a perfectly healthy body with dimples.
What’s so awful about dimples? They are cute on babies, why not on me? On us?
I asked my husband one of those dangerous questions you should never ask a husband. I asked him, “So. what do guys think of cellulite anyway? Do you find it revolting?” I watched his face stiffen in fear. However, to his credit, I believe he responded honestly by saying he always thought that was just the way girls were built. And so he never really gave it much thought at all.
And you know what? It turns out he’s right. Cellulite exists because of the way girls are built. Specifically because of the way our skin is put together. And those of us who are more thin skinned or loose skinned than others, have more and deeper dimples. It’s really that simple. We can choose to alter the look surgically or through expensive massage if we really want to.
Or we could pull together the whole mass of womankind and change our big silly mass mind about it. We can go out into the world unselfconsciously and proudly, showing off our adorable, girlish dimples.
We’re girls. We’re dimpled. Get used to it.
P.S. I just heard the news. Peace to Dr. Robert Atkins’ friends and family. His contributions and influence will ripple on and on. He saved many lives, and will save many more. And that was his job, after all.