What do you think when you see this photo?
What about these?
Are you thinking…
- a) ‘Nice shorts, where they from?’
- b) ‘Argh, wish I could wear that?’
- c) ‘They should not be wearing those shorts?’
Despite the rain and cold a surprising amount – at least 50% – of the girls at Parklife Festival in Manchester decided to get their legs out. At the risk of sounding like a Grandma; a lot of the shorts were no bigger than the knickers I had on under my jeans. The Parklife Twitter feed and Facebook page were filled with both boys and girls slating the shorts for showing off more cellulite than they ever wanted to see.
Me and my friends sat down by the main stage with a glass of vino to take it all in:
- Friend size 14: ‘At least all the skinnies have got cellulite too.’
- Friend size 8: ‘Yeah, I don’t feel so bad about mine now.’
- Friend size 10: ‘But seriously, she should not be wearing those shorts’.
Cellulite had never been quite so in my face before, literally.
As the four of us debated women’s rights regarding the acceptable length of trow and the reasons why, tens of girls passed us with their thighs out – in some cases bum cheeks – cellulite and all.
Was it so noticeable because it does actually look horrendous, because we never see it, or because we didn’t realise everyone else had it too?
According to The MayoClinic, 80% of women have cellulite, and it’s not your weight that brings it on – the dimples, bumps and pinched effect can happen to anyone. Although sitting on your arse all day, stress and contraceptives don’t help.
The MayoClinic says: “Cellulite is caused by fibrous connective cords that tether the skin to the underlying muscle, with the fat lying between. As the fat cells accumulate, they push up against the skin, while the long, tough cords are pulling down. This creates an uneven surface or dimpling.”
Ewww, so that’s what it is.
They’re just jealous…
The more we sat and saw, the more open and accepting of them and ourselves we became. After the initial shock I actually felt quite proud of the 18 year olds who had the confidence to pull them off, if not the supermodel bods.
They weren’t fat, far from it, but the resulting tweets from the harsh crowd on Twitter – and of course, our initial reactions – are exactly the reason why girls with cellulite aren’t out and proud.
It takes a brave woman to get their less-than-perfect pins out in today’s critical society. I wonder how much of someone saying ‘she should not be wearing that’ is jealousy, hatred, self doubt, prejudice, self obsession, low confidence or ridiculously high standards on their part.
One factor could be that growing up in England you just don’t see it. Sufferers can manage through the only month of summer we have in long skirts and linen trousers. With the weather here we’re not forced into baring all on the beach or hanging out at the local pool like in other countries.
And as for the media, anyone would think showing cellulite was up there with showing erect penises, bum sex and cigarette adverts.
After seeing thousands of girls from knee to leg/bum crevice at Parklife I know that dimples, bruises, fat pockets and stretch marks are the norm – they’re not professionally tanned, exercised for five hours a day or photoshopped to meet society’s approval.
It’s a big step for me, but these girls have inspired me to squeeze my size 14 bum into some shorts next time I see some sun. But there’s power in numbers so I hope that if you’re a shy cellulite sufferer you’ll out yourself with me. Together we can enjoy the simple feeling of the sun on our legs safe in the knowledge that 8 out of 10 women feel exactly the same.
Over to you – how do you feel about getting your legs out in public?