Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Thigh Gap Game--Can We Stop Playing It?



Why do women feel the need to play themselves out of happiness? That’s what this whole thigh gap obsession feels like—just another reason for women and girls to label themselves as “fat” or “not good enough.” Why do we care if our thighs touch on the inside or not? Besides that, why do we feel that our beauty rides on whether or not we have an inch between our upper legs?

Thigh gaps are particularly unrealistic and unhealthy considering they depend in large part on bone structure and how wide your hips are. Most people can't attain a thigh gap and still be healthy.
Thigh gaps are the newest unhealthy female obsession.
Image from stephaniebe.wordpress.com
There are a lot of questions there I can’t answer. But I think they still need to be asked, because it’s frightening to me how many females have an unhealthy obsession with being thin. And it’s not usually an obsession that blossoms from wanting to be healthy. It blossoms from wanting to feel beautiful and be thinner than other girls—no matter what it takes.

And with the rise of social media, the thigh gap has found its way into fashion and pop culture, and “thinspiration” blogs are garnering more support than ever. Females with seriously unhealthy habits have found support and community like never before through sites like Tumblr.

“It’s easier when you have people supporting any unhealthy habits you have,” said HuffPost’s Associate Lifestyle Editor, Carolyn Gregoire. “Whether it’s smoking or trying to become a really unhealthy weight, a lot of girls use Tumblr to connect with each other… and it really adds fuel to the fire of an unhealthy mentality.”

“We’re seeing a lot of these ‘thinspo’ photos as street style or ‘real girls,’” she said. “There’s this community of women who have this style and ‘thinspo’ is a part of that. You have to be really skinny to wear these clothes and be a part of this fashion blogosphere.”

For some women, like supermodels and movie stars, their bodies' imperfections are constantly being criticized. They must be in top physical shape as part of their job description—and those who fall outside that ideal body size and shape face scrutiny for it. Adele, Kate Winslet and Jennifer Lawrence have all been called fat (as if!) for falling above the line, while the media and public have speculated on whether Miley Cyrus, Keira Knightley and others are too skinny.

Our bodies were all built a little differently. Not having a thigh gap doesn't mean you aren't beautiful, so let's stop pretending it does.
We are all unique and beautiful, thigh gap or no thigh gap.
Image from fitisafeministissue.wordpress.com
Keira Knightly put it succinctly when she talked to People in 2006. “Hollywood is all about the way you look, and I don’t think that’s the healthy thing for anyone,” she said. “But if you’re strong and comfortable with yourself, then you’re going to be fine.”

Let's all be strong and comfortable with ourselves.

There are many different sizes and shapes of women in this world—and I would argue that everyone is beautiful in their own way. It’s not fair or logical to hold ourselves to one standard of beauty—such as the thigh gap—when we are surrounded by all this diversity. We are each unique individuals, and while a thigh gap may come naturally for those with frames like Knightley’s, it might not come naturally (or healthily) to others. Above all, let’s be sure that we’re staying healthy, that we love ourselves and our bodies (even if we want to make some changes), and that we’re attaining our goals in a healthy way.
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