Thigh gap: we shouldn’t want it, we won’t have it
Raise your hand if you’ve ever thought that your body is not ‘good enough’.
I am pretty sure that there are quite a lot of raised hands right now. There have always been expectations over the female body – different ones depending on the historical period – and over the last decade the spread of social media and comparaison pictures have influenced us more and more, on a conscious and unconscious way.
In 2019 the average daily social media usage worldwide amounted to 144 minutes per day. 144 minutes per day in which we scroll our feeds watching a parade of ‘perfectly’ shaped bodies, perfectly fitting in the contemporary ‘attractiveness rules’ (lean legs, flat stomach, toned arms, round booty..)
After these 144 minutes on social media we probably spend another good amount of time watching television or reading magazines, both or which are packed with ‘gorgeous’ looking women.
A phenomenon that aroused my curiosity is the Thigh Gap. What is it and when did this trend spread into the world to affect women’s minds?
The Thigh Gap is the empty space lying between a woman’s upper legs when she is standing with her feet touching.
Well, my legs tenderly kiss each other from the knees up (always have, always will), an I was quite curious to know were all this non touching legs fuss came from.
The Thigh Gap was widely spread by medias starting in late 2012, when a lot of very skinny-legged models walked on the Victoria’s Secret runway. The thigh gap fastly became a ‘must-have’, being alimented by social medias, ‘thinspiration’ contents and fitness instructors promising us to ‘get the gap in 15 days’.
What many neglected to say is that one cannot ‘achieve’ a thigh gap, as having one or not depends on physical characteristics such as body type, hip width and pelvic structure.
There are three main types of bodies :
I) Mesomorph, which tends toward muscularity
II)Ectomorph, naturally thin, having difficulties in gaining both fat and muscle
III)Endomorph, that naturally tends to carry a greater amount of muscle and fat
Differences also exist on the shape of our hips. We have to consider their width and depth, as well as the angles of interaction of the bones of the pelvis and the femurs.
This means that taking 2 women with the same leg length and thickness and the same fat percentage, one can have touching legs and the other not.
What does all this mean? It means that no matter of much we exercise, it is not possible to ‘get’ a thigh gap. It is possible to reduce the amount of fat around the legs, with the right nutrition, exercise and overall lifestyle choices, but if our body is not meant to have a thigh gap, it never will. Unless of course we starve ourselves to almost death with the exclusive purpose of having some sun rays spreading through our legs, and I think we all agree on how unhealthy that would be.
On Instagram, 93,7K posts carry the #Thighgap. Thankfully, many ‘anti-gaps’ movements have been launched over time and we can find 64,8K #Thickthighssavelives and 53,8K #Nothighgap.
To draw attention to this senseless trend, in 2016 Singapore designer Soo Kyung Bae created the TGap jewelry, gold pendants that were supposed to hang between women’s legs to highlight the gap between them. The designer’s goal was to draw attention on how the social media can influence one’s perception of body image: the online store in fact did not actually sell the jewelry, instead it explained the impossibility of getting a thigh gap, giving access to the different body types information.
The website, created by Soo Kyung Bae while she was a final year industrial design student at the National University of Singapore, is unfortunately no longer online.
I had the chance to look at it back in 2016 and I was quite fascinated by the thought that it was really because of social media influences that I even felt the need to visit such a website. Luckily, its content was quite enlightening on the fact that every single body in the world is different and deserves to be cherished.
As a woman myself I have been – and still am in many ways – influenced by the pressure that is put on the way a girl should or shouldn’t look. I honestly do not remember how I felt about women’s thighs before 2013 (chances are that even before the #Thighgap movement almost everybody wished to have thin legs), but I do know that still nowadays the ‘Thin is good’ trend rules.
I think we all agree in saying that everyone should accept his or her body the way it is, even if it is an everyday struggle for some of us. We should indeed focus on being the healthiest version of ourselves, instead of the copy of someone else.
I am also convinced that education is a powerful tool: know more, feel better. This is why I chose to share this information with you and I hope you’ll find clarity and comfort in this article.
Baci e abbracci
Alert! I am not saying that having thin legs and/or a thigh gap is bad, I just want to make a point in saying that beauty has many shapes, forms and sizes and that we should not spread a unique concept of beauty.