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Want a leg up on being beautiful? It’s all about the thigh (gaps)

Date: February 19, 2013 | Posted By: Audrey

I’m sorry, but did you know that there are Tumblr pages dedicated to praising thigh gaps? That’s right, I’m taking about sites that catalog and pay homage to photos of women whose legs do not touch above the knees.

Images of Victoria's Secret model with Photoshopped thigh gap.

A clearly Photoshopped “thigh gap” in Victoria’s Secret catalog.

And it doesn’t end there.

On Twitter, “#ThighGap” is often listed with other problematic tags like “#soclosetoperfection” and “#hipbones.” Oh, and people have created handles like @CarasThighGap, where they tweet about stuff like thigh gaps, and include twitpics of thigh gaps.

Body image experts have been documenting for years now just how damaging these images are to girls and women—and as a result, there’s been some real progress and resistance (Huzzah to Julia Bluhm, the 14-year old who took on Seventeen!).

But then stuff like this shows up in a Victoria’s Secret catalog, and you realize that in some office in New York or Los Angeles, there’s a team of folks (some of them likely women) Photoshopping away women’s thighs, thereby making others feel inadequate.

I take issue with this thigh gap seen on the cover. I do not believe it is real, nor that it makes Beyonce sexier—or more worthy, or more desirable, or more valuable.

Another recent infraction? Beyoncé on the cover of GQ. Start by taking a look at the photos from inside the magazine, which show a sassy, sexy Queen B, who’s lost the baby weight but still has famous curves.

Then, check out the cover.

Like every other permutation of female body snarking, this one makes me want to beg girls and women to go easy on themselves. To be at peace with their bodies.

I want women and girls to spend their glorious energy, time, and money on pursuits other than hating themselves to death and transforming their flesh into what it’s not.

And in truth, I get tired of pointing out the infinite, egregious examples of how the media contribute to our perverted ideals.

Maybe all this is just another example of culture-makers telling us what we should aspire to. And maybe achieving thigh gaps in real life does put you on the right side of today’s beauty ideals. But a trend that defines women by what is—or isn’t—between their legs?


Just no.

Audrey D. Brashich is the author of All Made Up: A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty.

What Do You Think?

10 Responses to Want a leg up on being beautiful? It’s all about the thigh (gaps)

  1. marg on 02-22-2013

    Against my better judgement, I clicked through to the tumblr page you linked. It was sickening. So many of the girls in those pictures were clearly sick--deathly sick. How dare the owner of that site promote that. Clearly she's never suffered through the living hell of an eating disorder. My sister has been to rehab 3 times for anorexia, had osteoporosis and gray hair by 26, and completely tore my family apart. I am essentially an orphan because of her.
  2. Jay on 02-23-2013

    Previously I had known that magazines photoshop images to show women as thinner, but this is the first time I've actually seen them creating an abnormal (by anyone's standards) body shape to follow an unhealthy trend. Boggles the mind.

    The only time I had ever seen thigh gaps in real life was on a drug addict who had anorexia - until a few months ago that's the only time I had tight gaps full-stop, but now they're turning-up on Pinterest and girls are asking how to get thigh gaps on forums...it's so unbelievably creepy!!
  3. Carrie on 02-27-2013

    I am naturally thin. Sometimes too thin in my eyes. Yes, I have that thigh gap. I hate it though. I would rather my thighs be full and touch. So I think in this, just like anything else, people just want what they don't have. I think being bigger, rather than over skinny, is much more attractive.
  4. Audrey Brashich on 02-27-2013

    Carrie, Marg and Jay: Thanks all for weighing (heh heh) in.

    The whole Thigh Gap thing basically makes me think of the Maybelline slogan "Maybe She's Born With It.... Maybe It's Maybelline" cause when that came out, my internal response was "ARE YOU SH%(*^(&ING ME? Now you want us to hate other women because they were born with 'better' lashes' than us?"

    Same-Same applies to Thigh Gaps. You have them naturally? Great! Some people's legs are like that. You don't? Also great! Some people's legs aren't. But to make it a thing to care about, stress about, covet etc. That's the part I take issue with.....

    Again, thanks for reading and adding your thoughts to this conversation....
  5. justme on 03-02-2013

    Until I read this, I didn't realize that "thigh-gaps" were a thing. After looking at the photoshopped VS ad, my first thought was "so... bow-legged women are all the rage now? And girls are actually trying to achieve this look? That's easy. Cut all vitamin C out of your diet and give yourself scurvy."
  6. Stacey on 03-06-2013

    I too didn't realize thigh gaps were a thing until this blog post. I think I had casually glanced over something about it on Tumblr once but ignored it. I agree, Audrey—if that's your natural body type, cool! If it isn't, also cool. The point is that it's just one more thing on the never ending list of things that women and girls should be striving for in terms of our appearances in order to achieve an ideal that isn't realistic. It's sad.
  7. Girl on 04-25-2013

    I have always wanted a thigh gap honestly. It, for me has nothing to do with celebrities but more that im doing the right thing with my body, by being active and working hard to gain it.
    It is a little bit sad that this is an ideal....
    But truth be told, I love my body, it's me for crying out loud!
  8. AnnieKate on 06-09-2013

    Oh my dear god, I am so sick of the thigh gap thing. I am a tumblr user and I follow a very close friend of mine, and she posts pictures like that every day with comments like "this is all I want" and "maybe I would be pretty too if I wasn't so fat". It drives me mad, and we have fought about it, because she isnt even overweight! She's perfect! But because.of pictures like that being circled around she and thousands of other girls think that only sick-looking thin is pretty! This kind of crap makes me wish we lived in the seventeenth century and no one ever saw women's thighs.
  9. Bella on 06-16-2013

    It's just disgusting how the media thinks that thigh gaps are beautiful. Thigh gaps have nothing to do with your thighs, it has to do with your hip placement. Some girls look anorexic with thigh gaps and probably are. Be happy with your body and stop comparing yourself to others. Look at the advantages to your body. Everyone is unique and beautiful in their own way, and there's someone out there who thinks you're beautiful.
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