Somewhat recently, the words “thigh gap” have had a tremendous impact on the Internet and the body image of women everywhere. Since it first surfaced, the term has been nothing but damaging. It has sparked “thinspiration” images on social media and has prompted retailers who Photoshop their models’ legs in order to make their proportions seem disturbingly (and disgustingly) thinner. Some retailers even went to the point of actually getting mannequins with legs that are too thin with the thigh gap! Here is a girl who is a healthy size 4 standing by a mannequin!
Let’s not forget the awful production from Target showing the model who was butchered at the start of last year’s bathing suit season! She lost a good portion of her vagina and cervix in order to achieve the Thigh Gap. I don’t know if she made it through that experience … RIP, poor soul!
Sadly, the backlash from people who “fight the thigh gap” have unintentionally made some of those who are naturally skinny feel shamed by body they are in, so this “war” affects both sides.
Recently, and thankfully, there was a lull in the “thigh gap” debate. But the term has emerged with an empowering message that raises awareness about body positivity, and it’s all thanks Lena Dunham. The actress shared a close-up photo of her leg in a pair of shorts with the hashtag #NoThighGap on Instagram, and her simple act has started a revolution!
Women have begun sharing their own photos on Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter, and have turned the #NoThighGap hashtag into a body positive movement. The hashtag has become a hub of love and pride for our bodies (as we all should have).
The movement is by no means saying that your legs are not beautiful if you have a thigh gap, but it’s there to celebrate the diversity in bodies that are not typically celebrated by the media. In fact, there are many people who just cannot physically obtain the thigh gap based on their physiological structure. Our muscle/fat/pelvis size all play a role in whether a person can have a thigh gap. I had the thigh gap once… when I was so sick I was almost dead. I didn’t realize the complexity of it all (the thigh gap) until I stumbled across this blog post which breaks down the information very well: (if you read the article – I’m the athletic Mesomorph – it’s nearly impossible for me to obtain the thigh gap – and I accept that). Let’s all be totally honest – most of the world does not have a thigh gap! Most of the healthy world will always have thighs that touch! We are built to have fat on our legs and that is healthy and okay. The percentage of people who naturally have a thigh gap is so low that it doesn’t even matter to me in this blog post 🙂
It’s important we remember that a thigh gap is not a measure of health (or even skinniness). We’re all built and shaped differently — and that’s an absolutely wonderful thing!! What’s “right” or healthy for one body isn’t going to be what’s right for every body. If hashtags like #NoThighGap can help us to recognize that, then maybe they will also help us to foster an acceptance of ALL body types and encourage a more open-minded perspective of what “healthy” looks like. “Healthy” is a large variety and looks very different for every person. My “healthy” is very different from your “healthy”.
Our worth should not be determined based on the space between our thighs, however wide or nonexistent that space may be. Whether or not any of us has a thigh gap, we should appreciate our bodies for what they are capable of doing, rather than how they look and if they adhere to a very narrow idea of what is acceptable and beautiful. This is something that I’m trying hard to do, and succeeding at more and more each day! Our bodies were made to do some pretty amazing things and the more we focus on what it can do, the less we will focus on what we think it should be or look like. This isn’t something that is easy to do, but it is well worth the struggle to achieve it! Body positivity and appreciation is something that amazing and freeing when you finally find it!
So… for the movement… let’s look at some of the #NoThighGap posts!