Can Cellulite Sell Magazines?

Glamour is about to find out.


This morning, Lena Dunham posted the cover of Glamour’s January issue to her Instagram. On it you can find: the four stars of Girls, four pairs of six-inch Marc Jacob platforms and the first bit of cellulite I’ve seen on a fashion magazine cover. The issue is dedicated to women and is 100% produced by women, per the cover. Fitting then, to feature an unretouched leg — an endangered species in the magazine world despite being the only thing any of us have ever seen in the mirror.

Remember Dunham’s essay in Lenny Letter last March wherein she disowned photoshop? “Not done with getting my picture taken … but done with allowing images that retouch and reconfigure my face and body to be released into the world,” she wrote. “The gap between what I believe and what I allow to be done to my image has to close now. If that means no more fashion-magazine covers, so be it.”

Go Glamour. I particularly appreciated how the lack of retouching isn’t called out — it reeks less of performative activism. It’s not even mentioned in the feature! It’s just a cover with some legs with some cellulite. No big deal.

But it is a big deal! Because, according to Scientific American, 90% of women have cellulite and yet you’d need a magnifying glass and an active imagination to find it anywhere in editorials, or on films or TV. The Mayo Clinic describes cellulite as “a term for lumpy, dimpled flesh on the thighs, hips, buttocks and abdomen. It’s most common in adolescent and adult women.” As in: (almost) everyone has it! It’s not an ailment! It’s strange that something so normal has yet to be normalized, but this feels like a cover photo worth celebrating. I look forward to the day it’s not.


Cover photographed by Emma Summerton for Glamour Magazine

Get more Pop Culture ?
  • MG

    Ahhhhhhh no more Lena Dunham. Pretty please. But this is a cool cover. Forever wishing girls featured women of color.


      Me too.

  • Jennifer

    Maybe I should just take what I can get (progress is progress right), but the fact that the cellulite is still surrounded by three pairs of “gorgeous” legs doesn’t make it a win for me. Would they put her, just her, on the cover like that? Maybe they will one day. Maybe this is paving the way. Maybe maybe maybe.

    • Because Lena is a stunt queen. LOL.

    • doublecurl

      I mean, she’s in hot pants and showing us the back of her legs. who’s to say it’s not there on the others

  • I think it’s certainly a step in the right direction however we definitely still have a long way to go. Great post though.
    The Pale Tails
    – Beckie x

  • Rhi

    The only issue I have is that the rest of the retouching is not very well done (and obvious to me, but I work in the photography industry), especially Allison’s head/hair and Jemima’s face. That’s why it hasn’t been called out – the image IS retouched by the looks of things, they’ve just specifically kept in the cellulite to spark talk like this. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it should have been done better IMHO.

    • Anne Dyer

      I was just wondering about that! Allisons head looks super touched up. It’s an odd choice to retouch only portions of a photo.

    • amelia9999999

      yeah the other three are clearly retouched! Plus Dunham is side on while the thinner women stand in a more traditional ‘model’ pose. Not that I want to split hairs, anything that moves towards normalising natural is great but this feels a bit watered down.

  • bb222

    ugh, throw them all out and replace with Issa Rae. But yeah, I guess this is good.

    • Haley Nahman

      OMG I love Issa Rae

    • Love her! Her IG stories are perfect.

    • Kate

      Why can’t we love them both?

  • amelia9999999

    Also: I want all the clothes in this spread.

  • Cherylynn

    Ewwwee ick, my eyes are bleeding.

    • Sandra

      Ewww ick Cherylynn, I hope you don’t age or have children since your eyes will bleed with the reflection on the mirror

  • BK

    what if you like the intention here, aren’t entirely sold by the execution and would never buy this glamour edition regardless because you aspire to find better role models than Lena Dunham

  • Emily Orr

    Can you stop with Lena?? She’s problematic at best and a horrible feminist role model. She wouldn’t know intersectionality if it hit her right between the eyes.

    • Sam

      A friend of mine referred to her as the Andrew Dice Clay of feminism. I can’t find the lie in it

  • Kimberly Sommers

    However the 2 on the left directly facing the camera are full on thigh gap

  • J.E. Pierson

    Can people please stop acting like Lena Dunham is some kind of hero?

  • Serena

    There’s a lot of Lena hate here, and I think the thing that’s most important to remember is that she has a point of view and owns it. She doesn’t owe anyone anything, and I think we’ve gotten accustomed to celebs being people-pleasers in a lot of ways, that we find honest and not always suer-pleasant celebs offensive. Most people I interact with daily have a certain amount of unpleasantness or a-thing-I-disagree-with. The clothes are FAB however!

  • sissi

    Why the other girls have pretty dresses and make up while Lena is bare faced and in a jumper and satin shorts???
    I mean, I agree with non photoshopped legs, but here there is more.
    I see 3 pretty girls dressed up for a party and one girl, maybe not as pretty as the others but it is not the point, in an outfit that has nothing to share with the others’ ones.
    I can’t get this sorry.
    It seems to me that Lena has been styled to be the “ugly” one and this is really disturbing for me. The other pictures of the editorial, moreover, are so much better balanced in style and everything.
    Probably it is all a commercial trick, I don’t like it anyways, it feels the opposite of accepting and supporting.

  • Snailstsichr

    Those shoes are ferociously ugly. I’m glad no one broke a leg – whether the leg had cellulite or not.

  • UnspecifiedUserAlreadyInUse

    Yes, lets keep celebrating a child molester.

    • Mika M R

      she molested a child?