The other day, reader Nicole sent in this link to a Scientific American article, part of a series discussing the “science of beauty.” There are so many things wrong with this article that I feel a listicle is in order. Shall we? Yes, let’s.
The Top 5 Things Wrong With SciAm’s Cellulite Article
5. The “expert” is a homeopath
I KNOW, right? A guy who admits that he gives “injections of homeopathic extracts, vitamins and/or medicine designed to reduce the appearance of cellulite” is the one they consulted? “And/or?” So the actual medicine is optional? And this is in SCIENTIFIC American? In case you missed the memo, homeopathy has been shown to be complete and worthless bunk, a fact that scientific Americans have known for about a century. Give me a frigging break.
4. The “science” is missing
The jury is still out on the best ways to treat cellulite, and this bozo’s method of using mesotherapy is about as sketchy as it comes. Where are the published studies on this? Where are the results? Where’s the science? Hint: not in the article, or anywhere else for that matter.
3. The “research” is idiotic
From the article, quoting Doctor MagicWater who backs up his theory that cellulite is a recent phenomenon:
The bulk of the articles on cellulite in the scientific literature started in about the late ’70s, but you [could] say women didn’t expose their legs [much before then]. What I try to do is find old picture books, women in the 1950s or 1960sâ€¦. When you find these pictures, women had perfect legs. And back in the ’40s and ’50s they didn’t have the computer programs to retouch those photos.
Of course they didn’t have computers. You know what else they didn’t have? “Us” magazine’s annual Best and Worst Beach Bodies issue. How many women back then (who may have lacked perfect bodies) were happy to hike up their skirts to photograph their cellulite?
And apparently this guy thinks that the word “airbrush” was invented for the little tool in Photoshop. Photos have been retouched since just after they were invented.
2. The insult to developing nations
In answer to the question “Why do some women have more cellulite than others?,” Dr. MagicWater says:
I’ve spent a lot of time traveling in developing countries and photographing local women. When I photograph these women [who don’t have much, or any, cellulite], you see the kind of work they’re doing and the kind of food they’re eating. They’re eating all organic foods, they’re constantly moving from the time they get up. These women are washing clothes in the river. Getting water [in an industrialized country] means getting up and going to the fridge or faucet. For women in developing countries, they’re walking to the river and coming back carrying a heavy container. So the physical activity levels in industrialized nations have also decreased.
Hmm. Cellulite does appear to be related to weight gain, but do women in developing countries have less cellulite because they’re exercising more and “eating all organic foods?” Maybe. Or maybe it’s because an estimated 947 million people in the developing world are undernourished, meaning they consume less than the minimum amount of calories essential for sound health and growth. 26 percent of children under 5 are moderately to severely underweight. Is the developing world really where we should be looking to find tips and tricks on combating our awful, unsightly skin lumpiness?
Oh, and yeah, getting water in an industrialized country means getting up and going to the fridge. Getting water in developing countries means DYSENTERY.
Screw you, Doctor MagicWater.
1. The sexism
The good doctor suggests that restrictive underwear cuts off circulation and increases your chances of getting cellulite, something that may (gasp!) be true! So, what does he suggest women do about it?
Wear a thong.
Have you ever worn a thong, Dr. MagicWater? I have. Thongs can be just as tight against your skin as briefs, plus they offer an added bonus of possibly leaving you at greater risk of vaginal infections, you ass.
While there may be little tidbits of factual content in that article, good luck figuring them out if you’re not already a cellulite expert. Considering the fact that Scientific American has long been a fantastic, trusted popularizer of science, this was so very disappointing. And considering the fact that long-time skeptic and all-around wonderful guy John Rennie has resigned as editor, I hope this isn’t indicative of the direction the magazine is heading.