Teens and young women are vulnerable to the expectations of society and the world of fashion. The latest body image trend is the thigh gap.
Here, young women who have a natural gap between the tops of their inner thighs are envied and admired by those who may not be aware that bone structure has given these women this “enviable” space between their legs.
For some girls, the desire for thigh gaps has become so strong they are willing to endanger their health to get one – if it’s even possible.
A Thigh Gap Definition
What is a thigh gap? This is an open space of a few inches below your groin and in between your inner thighs. As you stand with your feet pressed together, your skeletal makeup may enable you to see the light in between your upper thighs.
This body characteristic has, for some reason, become something that almost every young woman wants. Think of the after-school conversations between girlfriends: “I want a thigh gap.” “Yeah, so do I! You think we can diet or find exercises that’ll help us?”
While working out and eating a healthy diet in moderation is good, you shouldn’t diet and exercise to obtain a thigh gap, recommends The Fitness Focus. Fitness Focus points out that even slightly overweight girls and young women can have a thigh gap.
This is because they didn’t get that inner-thigh space by avoiding certain foods – they were born with those gaps.
Why a Thigh Gap Isn’t Realistic
You may weigh enough for your height. However, you may lack that space in between your legs. Plus-size model Robyn Lawley was profiled by The Guardian. Lawley stands 6 feet, two inches tall. She weighs 12 stones.
Converting one stone to pounds means that it is about 12 to 14 pounds. Therefore, Lawley weighs between 144 and 168 pounds – typical for her 6-foot 2-inch frame. Does she have a thigh gap? No, she doesn’t. Yet, she has launched a highly successful modeling career.
This phenomenon has become so popular that it has its hashtag on Twitter, according to The Guardian. Here, Twitter users post images of thigh gaps to inspire themselves and others.
Thigh Gap and Eating Disorders
Naomi Shimada, who used to model, is realistic about the thigh gap. She accuses the fashion industry of refusing to admit that all women’s bodies are created differently. She also targets pro-anorexia groups for pushing this obsession. “It’s a path to an eating disorder,” according to Shimada in The Guardian.
According to Huffington, if you have heard of the “thinspo” communities online, you’ve probably figured out that these sites may be promoting unhealthy eating and dieting practices, which can lead vulnerable young women to develop bulimia or anorexia Post.
These blogs feature real girls, quote-unquote, whose bodies may naturally allow them to have thigh gaps. If you have no thigh gap and you’ve wanted to develop one, these sites may lead you into dangerous practices. Of course, your friends may be pushing the idea of a thigh gap, mainly if they compete with each other to have the cutest bodies.
I Want to Fit In
Peer pressure may be making you and other girls your age obsess over how to get a thigh gap. Think about it. You compare your clothes to those of your friends and schoolmates. They compare theirs to yours.
You’re at an age where fitting in and comparing favorably to others is one of the biggest things you think about, aside from your grades in school. Having that thigh gap may seem to you like you’re going to achieve that. Striving to look your best is good, but you can go in the other direction if you take it too far.
If you focus too much on how you look and whether you have that desirable space between your upper thighs, you may begin to think less of yourself.
Thigh Gap, Body Image and Body Dysmorphia
If you worry so much about your appearance that, no matter how beautiful you look, you believe you look ugly – and if you see your body in a mirror as “ugly,” you may suffer from body dysmorphia. This is a mental condition of disordered thinking, where, no matter what your eyes see in a mirror, your mind convinces you you’re ugly.
If your body weight is already standard, but you’re trying to lose weight so you can get that thigh gap, you are at risk of developing an eating disorder, according to the Fitness Blender. That space between your thighs doesn’t make you any healthier. It happens naturally when you have wider hips.
The tops of your legs will be set farther apart, enabling you to have that gap between your thighs. Of course, not all women’s hips are like this. They won’t have those spaces between their thighs – and that’s perfectly fine. If they are healthy, exercise regularly, and are of average weight, they don’t need to have that gap to be beautiful or healthy.
If you’ve thought about losing weight, so you get that gap, think again. As you lose weight, you lose it proportionately. That is, your body’s shape won’t change very much even as the pounds melt away, according to Adolescent Growth.
Who Naturally Has a Thigh Gap
These women are more likely to have a gap in between their thighs:
- Women with bow legs.
- Women with thin thighs who are top-heavy.
- Women with wide-set hips.
If you’re athletic and at a healthy weight, you may not have that gap – and this is fine. If you have a low percentage of body fat, you may have a gap between your thighs. As you think of ways to streamline your thighs, don’t make it your goal to become underweight or harm your health in any way.
Why Diet and Exercise Won’t Give you a Thigh Gap
Now that you know you’re going to lose inches from every part of your body as you diet, you may realize getting that coveted gap won’t be so easy.
Here’s another scenario that may deny that space to you. If you have wide hips, but you are muscular, you won’t have that gap, according to Women’s Health Mag.
If you want toned legs, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet full of protein, fiber, dairy, and whole grains is the best way to get started. Even if someone has told you about a thigh gap diet, it doesn’t exist.
If you’ve heard that “spot-reducing” thigh gap exercises can help you get that gap, they won’t work. There is no such thing as a thigh gap workout. Instead, find exercises that sculpt all the muscles of your legs. You’ll get toned calves and thighs, even if you don’t get that gap.
Why Thigh Gap Surgery is a Bad Idea
Some plastic surgeons have begun to offer thigh gap surgery to women who want that gap. But, unfortunately, these women may not have the body makeup that naturally allows them to have that thigh space, so they turn to plastic surgery, even though they may be beautiful just as they are.
One such surgery freezes the thigh fat you don’t want. According to Hello Giggles, you’ll see that gap between your thighs once this has been done. Now you’ve spent thousands of dollars in conforming to society’s idea of “beauty” when you were beautiful before.
You’re Beautiful Without a Thigh Gap
If you’re in school and obsessing about a thigh gap, ask yourself why. You and your family are probably the only ones who know that you don’t have one. However, your friends may know if you’ve told them.
All that gap is a status symbol, according to Cosmopolitan. Your school’s dress code probably doesn’t allow you to wear super-short skirts, leggings, or jeans to school. Knowing this, why is it so important to get one? Society dictates that a woman is beautiful only when she has a gap.
Look at the pictures of the models in the magazines you read. If they have thigh gaps, this probably gives you some thigh gap challenge. If you’ve heard of Photoshop, you know that graphic artists – and magazines – use this software to alter photos, removing blemishes, excess fat digitally – and the fat in between a model’s thighs.
If a famous model doesn’t naturally have a gap between her legs, does this make her unattractive? If not, then why does your nonexistent gap make you unworthy? Love yourself for who you are!