What the fudge? This opening line is quite ironic because the people I am talking about would never eat fudge for fear of their thighs touching. What is the obsession sweeping the developed world with ‘thigh gaps’? If it feels like I am yelling, I am. I am confused, astounded, dumbfounded; since when has a gap between your thighs been an indicator of beauty? Or an indicator of anything for that matter. I thought the social media ‘selfie’ abs photos were enough, but now I am being bombarded with selfie crutch shots too. We have outdone ourselves with this first world problem, that’s for sure.
I was introduced to the ‘thigh gap’ phenomenon by a mother of a high school aged girl, who was becoming increasingly alarmed by the way her daughter was obsessing about the fact that the top of her thighs touch, constantly taking photos of her ‘gap progression’, and having to be reassured by others that her gap is visible and coming along ‘just fine’. It was during this conversation I had the stark realization that the only image that is seared into my brain when I think of tops of thighs is a hot summers day and the resulting possible chaff that indicates I am human, it is hot and I have been active. Does the fact that I haven’t been stressing about how far apart my thighs sit make me less beautiful or even worse, out of touch with reality? Someone pass me the talc!
I walked away from this conversation shocked and immediately instagram searched #thighgaps to see what all the fuss was about. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather (something a plus size model would rarely say!). Photo upon photo of girls and woman’s crutches dolled up in lycra bike shorts or the latest fashion print underwear, all there on the web for us to inspect, to see the ever evolving and more often than not, unnatural looking ‘thigh’ gap’. There is even a ‘wiki:how to’ guide on getting a thigh gap. The only reason I stopped looking at the photos was to cough up the bug I had swallowed while my jaw my touching the ground!
Thinspo on instagram
Wiki: How to get a thigh gap
I have been entrenched in the fashion world for long enough now to know that ‘body hate’ and negative body image is somewhat of a constant and sadly is an issue that affects men and woman of all ages and sizes world wide. However, what is more disturbing is the proliferation of young men and women publicly hating on their own bodies, proudly stating they are ‘pro ana’, meaning, pro anorexia, girls commenting on how they can not wait until amenorrhea kicks in and encouraging others to get on board the ‘thinspiration’ bandwagon submerging their lives in meaningless banter and down right destructive behaviour.
Please don’t get me wrong, some people are naturally skinny and a ‘thigh gap’ is an attribute that they don’t need to work for, their bodies are naturally lean. I am not saying that this is unhealthy, however, subjecting your body and your mental state to a level of extremity to gain this, as a characteristic of beauty, is ridiculously unhealthy. The level of insecurity and self hate evident in this behaviour is the most devastating realisation of it all and to see it amplified and encouraged through social is frightening.
To say that I have perpetual love for my thighs would be misleading. My thighs are the biggest part of body, but I have come to terms with that and that’s all right with me, especially since I now rely on them to pay my bills and have enough money to eat. I have thighs that touch, rub, overlap and have done so since I was young. It was never a bother, never a thought and certainly not something I would condemn myself for. The fact that a ‘matchbox’ car cannot drive up my inner thigh and make a u-turn at my vagina does not worry me in the slightest. There are much bigger and many more powerful issues in this world to worry about. Most people should be grateful they have enough food to consume to actually have thighs that touch.
No thigh gap, no worries!
Good luck retouching a thigh gap onto my legs! Photo courtesy of Plus Model Magazine.
My best attempt of a thigh gap at work. They still touch.
Scrolling through the endless array of pencil thin legs and protruding hip bones visually poking me in the eyes, I started to worry about the possibility of having a child and the life and ridiculous body image expectations that they will be subjected to. And then I thought, hold on, they will have a mother and father who portray healthy body image, a mother that has thighs that touch but one that has thighs that can squat, run, jump, kick and look damn right good and healthy. If they are brought up in an environment that teaches them from a young age that there are many more important things in life than the size of your thigh gap, things like environmental protection, world poverty, discrimination, and world conflict; than we will have hopefully bridged the ‘thigh’ gap and given these future leaders a solid leg (s) to stand on! (pun intended).
Having a thigh gap does not make you beautiful but being a good and humble person, helping others and being happy will surely lead you on the path of a fantastic life more so than giving gale force winds the ability to blow between your thighs and literally and emotionally knock you down.