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Feminspire | April 17, 2014

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Thigh Gap: An Alarming New Trend Among Women?

Thigh Gap: An Alarming New Trend Among Women?

The close relationship between young women and dangerous dietary objectives is nothing new, but apparently simply being “skinny” is no longer the ultimate goal for a lot of girls. The newest way of showcasing one’s health, beauty and fitness is by having a visible “thigh gap.”

A thigh gap is just what it sounds like: space between one’s upper thighs so that the legs don’t touch. Countless images, work-out plans, and inspirational quotes have been popping up all over the Internet –– largely on youth-oriented sites like Tumblr and Pinterest –– with the thigh gap appearing as a symbol of body perfection. For example, Cara’s Thigh Gap is a Twitter account devoted to 2012’s Model Of The Year at the British Fashion Awards Cara Delevingne, and while it teeters on parody, the fact that it even exists under that name is somewhat frightening.

Recently, the always honorable Daily Mail reported that the cosmetic clinic LoveLite has seen a 240% rise in the demand for Lipogaze, a new “fat freezing treatment” that is offered to help women to achieve a thigh gap by killing fat cells.

The non-invasive procedure is quick and harmless, according to LoveLite, but the company capitalizing on poor self-image in young women by maintaining that their purpose is to give women confidence is not. The desire to look smaller and/or more fit is seemingly felt by all women at one point or another, and the thought of spending money on a procedure that’s been tied to a trend that helps you to look skeletal is incredibly scary.

As long as the media is powerful and models/celebrities are skinny, there will be an issue with young women and body image. But rather than by offering “confidence” in the form of change, shouldn’t we be focusing on acceptance and body positivity? Especially now, since the Internet makes it so easy for groups of young girls to come together and discuss their collective desire for something as unobtainable as a thigh gap? Young women have had unhealthy bodily expectations for a long time, and there is something disturbing about wanting a feature that is usually associated with the dangers of eating disorders. Here’s to hoping that this “trend” is quickly replaced by something that involves actual substance or material.

Written by Nicole Woszczyna

  • WB

    I find this thigh gap trend very foreign to me. I wonder if it’s just an American thing? I remember my mother told me of a girl she knew who suffered from an eating disorder, and my mother mentioned that one of the warped ideas she had about how a body should look was that “there should be an actual space between the upper thighs” – we didn’t even know what a ‘thigh gap’ was! Later, I saw some posts from US tumblr saying ‘no thigh gap, no problem’ and it seemed bizarre to me – they might as well have said ‘no beauty mark on left pinky, no problem’ or something equally un-important and random… I discussed it with a friend, who had never heard of it at all, and neither of us had seen it advertised or praised in any way here in Denmark. Would love to see in the comments if other non-Americans have a similar experience with it!

    • Amanda

      I HAVE A BEAUTY MARK ON MY LEFT PINKY. do i have a problem

    • Lucy

      Yes its definitely a thing in the UK as well as the USA.

  • Laura D

    When I was in high school over ten years ago I had a friend who insisted that she wasn’t thin (or at least not thin enough) because her thighs touched. It was crazy to me then and it’s still crazy now, but I don’t think it’s a new idea.

  • Liane Graham

    Whatever, I have a huge thigh gap AND a huge ass. I look deformed. Like, my legs are twigs relative to the rest of my body. Big picture, everyone. Let’s be healthy and try to be the best versions of ourselves instead of lame versions of Victoria Secret models.

  • Jennifer Trela

    I don’t think this is a new phenomenon, since even Mandy Ingber – the yoga instructor for Jennifer Aniston – comments on it in her Yogalosophy DVD, saying that she had thought as a young girl that the thighs touching was bad. But I do agree with you on body positivity, although until the media and celebrities see it as a money-making tool, I sadly don’t see it becoming something that’s promoted to consumers.

  • lianne

    i can’t help but feel that this post IS body-shaming in and of itself- i personally have a ~natural~ thigh gap and, no, i do not look “skeletal” nor do i have a history of ED. i actually just. have. a. thigh. gap. while i do think promoting the image of a thigh gap as a form of ~perfection~ is poisonous and body-shaming, demeaning those who do have a gap using such words can be equally as poisonous. please be more careful with your words.

  • Emily

    I have a very large thigh gap and a very large rear. I am a size 4 on the bottom and a zero on the top. This is my natural body shape and it alarms me to hear it shamed or called “unhealthy.” I also have very small breasts and almost no fat on my ribs. My BMI is in the “average” range.
    Rather than discussing this “trend” in such a polarizing manner we should be discussing realistic body expectations.

  • Sara Luckey

    A thigh gap has mostly to do with the position of the femurs within their sockets. The way they are rotated and their position within the socket is a large part of whether or not a human has a thigh gap. Thin people, fat people inbetweenies, can all have thigh gaps. This doesn’t mean they are inherrently healthy or unhealthy, but is largely due to anatomy they cannot control.

  • Hannah

    Everyone should just be COMFORTABLE in their bodies, no matter what shape your thighs are.

  • Kiana

    I think she’s trying to say that we shouldn’t aspire to artificially create a thigh gap, or use it as a goal in weight loss. This has been around for years, but I guess its experiencing a resurgence of popularity.

  • Vivid Sammy

    Now I have to stand up and see if I have a thigh gap or not, I’ve never heard of it and I haven’t even thought about it ever. Until now

  • NA

    I agree with the other comments here– this post is full of factual errors and body shaming. A thigh gap is not “unobtainable” for some people, but it also has little to do with your weight– it’s based on the curvature of your legs. I’m thin and I don’t have a thigh gap, because that’s not how my body looks. Several of my friends do, because that’s how their body works. Hell, Beyonce’s thighs don’t touch and I hardly think you’d call her “associated with the dangers of eating disorders.” Claiming that any particular body feature is inherently unhealthy or unattractive or bad is not just unhelpful, it’s hurtful. It reinforces the fact that women can never get it right– they’re too fat or too skinny, too out of shape or too bulky, too pretty or not pretty enough. I’m sad to see an article like this printed with so little insight on a site that, presumably, purports to be a safe space for women of all shapes. (All this is not to mention that caring about a thigh gap is hardly a “new trend,” but instead one with a long history.)

  • Anne

    Thanks for telling me that “there is something disturbing” about wanting something that I naturally have. Of course I do not agree with this trend, but there is no need to tell me that my body looks like that of someone with an eating disorder, and that you feel that it is “incredibly scary” for people to want a body like mine.