Yesterday’s post was a warning that Cellulite Season is approaching and you’re likely to see an influx of regurgitated cellulite segments in the media. While these types of stories can be a good way to get women talking about the dreaded blight, they are bound to be less than satisfying for serious cellulite-investigators like ourselves.
To illustrate, let’s talk about the cellulite segment on Rachael Ray last week.
(This show originally aired last October but the producers brought it back for cellulite season.)
Every cellulite segment needs an expert. Rachael Ray chose Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, a “board certified dermatologist” with 30 years of private practice. Rachael repeatedly addresses her as “Doctor” throughout the segment.
But how much does she know about cellulite? A quick look at the bio on her website shows that she specializes in facial skincare. Her book is titled 6 Weeks to Sensational Skin: Dr. Loretta’s Beauty Camp Handbook for Your Freshest Face. She even has her own line of skincare products, but not a cellulite cream in sight.
To my surprise, Rachael jumps into the interview by clearing up one of the most widespread myths about cellulite. “It’s not a problem that’s necessarily anything to do with one’s weight,” she asks the doc. “Absolutely,” Dr. Loretta confirms. Unfortunately, the segment goes downhill from there.
Dr. Loretta goes on to explain that cellulite is something we all have because cellulite is fat under the skin. By equating cellulite with subcutaneous fat, she conveniently skirts the question of what causes cellulite and transitions the conversation to how women have more body fat than men.
As I mentioned yesterday, the media is under pressure to be useful and entertaining, so it’s not surprising that the Rachael Ray producers chose to test three inexpensive cellulite products for the segment. A viewer was selected to use each product for several weeks and report the results live on the show. The products were your typical at-home cellulite treatments: a seaweed wrap, a pair of textured panties, and a cream with an infrared massage device.
Even though the women reported few results with any of the products, they seemed to feel under some kind of pressure to paint the products in a positive light. After Maria described the results she saw as “minimal” (she claims to have gone from “cottage cheese” to “swiss cheese” –is that an improvement???), the music suddenly switches to an upbeat tempo and she is talking about how she recommends the product as a self-esteem booster.
Keisha gave her magic panties “a big thumbs down” because she saw “absolutely no results.” And yet, she also gets the musical transition and proudly vows to continue wearing them so they have more time to… do what magic panties do, I guess.
The Doc points out that in clinical trials for Keiaha’s product, 88 percent of women reported seeing a reduction in their cellulite after 8 weeks of continuous use. That means 12 percent of women “might not in the very beginning see as much of a result.”
Yeah, that’s it.
The Rachael Ray segment was fun. It got women talking about cellulite and even showing it on tv. It gave me something juicy to write about two days in a row.
But we can’t expect much more from pieces like this because they don’t have time to approach cellulite as the complex issue it is. No one proposed following up with the viewers in another 8 weeks to see if they had seen any more progress from the products. Rachael had to cut Sarah off when she started talking about how spending time in her seaweed wrap encouraged her to start paying more attention to herself and kick-started a more holistic program for tackling the blight.
Instead, they ended the segment with Dr. Loretta’s ultimate cellulite advice:
I think the first rule is remembering that it is somewhat related to weight so try to keep yourself to a healthy weight. Do exercise. And then, if you really feel that you’re just not happy enough and that you’re seeing cellulite, I think it’s super important that you try one of these [products]. Because I think we found in all three of our volunteers that there was such a positive feedback. They all really stated that they felt a lot better about themselves.
Am I the only one who thinks it’s fitting that the doctor ended the interview by contradicting the first question she answered? I open the floor to your comments (c’mon, I know you’ve got opinions on this one!).
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