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Thigh gap?

Posted by on Oct. 31, 2013 at 2:11 PM
  • 42 Replies

I think this woman is beautiful from head to toe.  It's unfortunate that some people's view of beauty is so skewed.

Robyn Lawley: Why The Dangerous “Thigh Gap” Trend Makes Me Mad

A disturbing trend online encourages girls to be so thin they can see a gap between their thighs. Model Robyn Lawley reacts.

“Thinspiration” has always been a scary subject online -- when unhealty images and messages proliferated on social networks such as Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram are used to encourage users to be unhealthily thin.

There is now a disturbing breed of thinspiration that pressures women and girls to pursue a “thigh gap,” which is defined as the space between one's thighs. Everywhere online, users are posting aspirational pictures of thigh gaps, used as inspiration for weight loss and dieting. “I want the thigh gap. Right now, I could start a fire b/t my thighs,” one user laments on Pinterest. “No goal was ever achieved without thigh gap.”

The sad reality is that I’ve known about the “thigh gap” since I was 12—and there is nothing about this trend that’s new to me. Watching countless fashion shows as a teenager, I was unfortunately inundated with images of women and girls who had pronounced space between their thighs. The models’ legs would never come close to touching, even as they stomped down the runway. Staring down at my own thighs, I can safely say that has never been the case for me. I’m now classified as a “plus size” model in the fashion industry.

You can image my surprise when, a year ago, I was featured on a pro “thigh gap” Facebook page. The page displayed an un-retouched photo of me in lingerie. From the photograph, there appeared to be a gap between my thighs. Degrading and humiliating comments followed. I was called too “hefty” to be featured. The word “PIG” was often used to describe my appearance and my thigh gap was said to be not big enough. In the end I couldn’t keep silent, and after 900 or so comments about my body, I decided to chime in. 

This photograph of Lawley inspired bullying on a Facebook page. (Courtesy Robyn Lawley)

After thanking those who defended my curves, I addressed those who thought it was OK to comment negatively on a girl in her lingerie. I wrote: “You sit behind a computer screen objectifying my body, judging it and insulting it, without even knowing it.” Fortunately for me, thousands of people respect my body, which means I get to travel the world advancing the ideal that healthy is beautiful and true acceptance comes from within, not from comments on a Facebook page. 

The truth is I couldn’t care less about needing a supposed “thigh gap.” It’s just another tool of manipulation that other people are trying to use to keep me from loving my body. Why would I want to starve and weaken my natural body size? I’m not saying women who have it naturally are unattractive. But I would have to change my entire frame just to achieve something that seems so trivial.

I’ve been trying to do just the opposite: I want my thighs to be bigger and stronger. I want to run faster and swim longer. I suppose we all just want different things, but women have enough pressure as it is without the added burden of achieving a “thigh gap.” The last thing I would want for my future daughter would be to starve herself because she thought a “thigh gap” was necessary to be deemed attractive.

We have the power to change perceptions about body image—and we have the power to stop harmful trends like the “thigh gap.”

by on Oct. 31, 2013 at 2:11 PM
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by AllieCat on Oct. 31, 2013 at 2:22 PM
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I first heard about this 'thigh gap' from my 13 year old daughter.

Some one at school, one of the girls who feels she is popular, skinny...while in reality has issues she is trying to cover up and hide from............... mentioned it.  She was telling the other girls that no matter who they are, what they look like and what they wear, if they do not get themselves to have that 'thigh gap' they will never be in the 'in crowd'.

This will never end.  All of this.  It was this way all those years ago when I was in school.  The names change, the fad changes but the overall sense of how one should appear, if you want to fit in, is the same.

Most of this stems from girls themselves.  

I have three daughters.  Ages 22, 19 and 13.  It has been, and remains, my job to do my best to show them, to teach them, they are who they are.  They do not need to be what others insist upon in order to be happy, productive, and better.  It isn't easy but it is something that is necessary and  you must remain positive and confident and consistent.

I will fully admit, there are a few girls that I simply tell my daughter are not worth her time.  That their facade of perfection is just that.  Some where in their lives, there is turmoil that brings them to think they are perfect.  Stay away from them, move along and remember they have bigger issues than she will ever have.

by Member on Oct. 31, 2013 at 2:28 PM
Wow. I never thought of this.
I actually worry because my DD is under weight and has the thigh gap :(
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by shellbark on Oct. 31, 2013 at 2:33 PM
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Ugh it's all just so silly. And sad. And tragic. I hate the fashion world.
by A.Ham on Oct. 31, 2013 at 2:40 PM
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This is one of those times when my race helped protect me.  Skinny ideals were never the norm in my Jr. High.  This was the day of Sir Mix A Lot's "Baby Got Back."  I can honestly say I never felt "fat" during my adolescence and teen years.

But that's changing.  I have a teenage cousin who is anorexic and was recently hospitalized.  I'm really worried about her. 

Women's bodies weren't designed to look good on magazine pages.  They were designed to store fat and birth children. The goal is not what your body looks like, but what it is capable of doing.  I have big thighs, always have.  But on the occasion where I've run 5ks or other distance running, my thighs don't feel fat, they feel powerful.   

This model won't change anyone's mind.  Girls - and women - have to work it out themselves to stop being in constant war with their bodies.  I hate that it's so hard to do.

by guerrilla girl on Oct. 31, 2013 at 2:51 PM
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That is a bit thinner but close to my body type. I love my curves!

National Woman's Party

by on Oct. 31, 2013 at 2:52 PM

 I've heard of this for years. I watched this dieting documentary from Britian. The girl who ate nothing but broth for a month acheived it and was so proud. How she could be proud when she was having fainting spells is beyond me.

by on Oct. 31, 2013 at 2:59 PM

For a certain body/genetic type a thigh gap comes naturally, especially for tall thin types.  For everybody else, about the only way to get it is to starve.  Exercising is going to develop the thigh muscles and add bulk.  Healthy, beautiful, strong, and shapely bulk, but bulk nonetheless.  

It's great that this model is speaking out about this, but the anas won't listen to her because to them, she's fat.   

by Member on Oct. 31, 2013 at 3:09 PM
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No kidding!  

I worked in an eating disorder clinic.  Those girls came in with high fashion mags all the time.  We actually took them because of how damaging they were to the patients. Overall society needs to change it's view of beauty.  

Quoting ashellbell:

Ugh it's all just so silly. And sad. And tragic. I hate the fashion world.

by on Oct. 31, 2013 at 3:31 PM
I remember listening to someone say they knew they were too fat when their thighs started touching. My tighs have always touched. I immediately thought I must be bordering on obese. Total distortion. Took me many years to wake up.
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by on Oct. 31, 2013 at 3:39 PM
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Just when I think "beauty" can't get more arbitrary or ridiculous, along comes thigh gap. Are you fucking kidding me? 

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