And I realize from that description, maybe it sounds like I do not like my body but that is false. Every girl fights body image issues, it’s a sad truth. However, I think I've suffered with my body image issues less than many girls. What it comes down to is that I have a healthy and strong body. That is what is most important to me. I feel beautiful in my body because my body is capable of doing amazing things. Through eating right and staying active, I appreciate my body as a whole more and pick it apart less.
We live in a world that constantly tells us we are not good enough. You aren't curvy enough. You aren't skinny enough. Your hair is too thin. Your hair is too thick. You are too fair. You are too dark. How does a girl ever expect to win? One of the latest unhealthy trends enforced upon women is something known as the thigh gap.
I came across this very well-done article by the ladies at Beauty Redefined which addressed the epidemic of the thigh gap. When I read this article, I had no clue what a thigh gap even was, but it sounded bad. I looked into it more and discovered it’s when a girl stands with her feet together, and a small gap (or for some, a very wide one) appears between her upper thighs. I read on a blog post while searching for thigh gap information (which I refuse to even link the post because the writer is an idiot) that, “a woman with beautiful legs has three diamonds.” This means when standing with the feet together, a gap supposedly should appear from the ankles to knees, the knees to the thighs, and (the thigh gap part) the upper thighs to the crotch.
I then decided to muster up the courage to do a Google image search for “thigh gap”. I wouldn't suggest it if you get offended easily. What I found were pictures of girls and women who were entirely too thin, flaunting their frail looking legs and wide thigh gaps.
Nothing about it looked sexy to me. Actually, it was quite disturbing. Some of the pictures were comparable to young women I visited in a hospital back when I went to Ethiopia years ago. These were girls, in a hospital, waiting to die. They were disease-stricken with the AIDS virus and malnourished. It was honestly one of the most terrifying and emotional experiences of my life, weaving in and out of those hospital beds in this foreign country, trying to comfort girls my same age who could not even find the strength to lift their own heads. This is what the “desirable” thigh gap reminded me of: sick and dying girls.
I was totally perplexed by reading up on this. A thigh gap? This is a real thing? Since when was it attractive to have chicken legs? Since when was it a trend to look malnourished? Then I wondered, “Do I have a thigh gap? I don’t think I have a thigh gap. Maybe a tiny one?”
Now guys, I am a thin person. I am the poor child who never felt loved because I was kicked off anyone and everyone’s laps for having a “bony butt” that was “hurting their leg”. But apparently this bony butt has more meat on it than anyone thought.
I went to the full body mirror in my room and stood with my feet touching. When I made sure I was standing in the correct position, I looked up at my reflection. I had absolutely no thigh gap, none whatsoever. My right thunder thigh pressed firmly against my left thunder thigh.
If you were to ask me what my favorite physical feature about myself is, I would probably say my legs. I have always loved having strong and athletic legs. It’s something I take pride in. So while the thigh gap people preach against any kind of exercise that builds leg muscle, I often focus on building leg muscle. Many of my workouts are filled with squats, calf raises, lunges, wall sits, and hill/stadium runs. I want toned legs, not sticks for legs. I want bulging thighs that reveal no sign of a thigh gap. I want legs that can carry me up steep mountains, sprint across finish lines of races, and jump high on trampolines. I have a feeling a thigh gap aint gonna do any of that for me.
Now if you have a thigh gap naturally, I am not bagging on you at all. Don’t think I’m saying you are an unhealthy, gross person. The problem comes when girls and women go to extreme circumstances trying to achieve a thigh gap. Women are starving themselves, tearing themselves down, and doing harmful things to their bodies to try and develop a thigh gap. From what I've read, a thigh gap is actually not achievable for many body types, like my own.
A thigh gap actually has more to do with bone structure than muscle or fat. Women who have wide set hips are more likely to have a thigh gap. Women with narrow hips (like me) will find it very difficult, if not impossible, to have a thigh gap. So that’s that. Good luck changing your bones.
I am speaking out against the thigh gap epidemic. If we all speak out as individuals, we can possibly create change. So, please, will you do the same? Speak out when you see a Photo-shopped image, where it’s obvious they manipulated the image to make the woman have a thigh gap. Refuse to shop at stores where their models portray this unhealthy body image.
a photo-shopped image to give Beyonce a thigh gap
Most importantly, love yourself. As women, we must accept our bodies and realize their beauty. Don’t pick yourself apart. Don’t go to unhealthy measures to reach an unattainable body type. Don’t beat yourself up. Next time you look in the mirror, think of all the things you see in yourself that you love, ignore the rest. Eat healthy, exercise, love your body, and think of all the things you are capable of. Your body is the home of your sweet soul. Don’t stop at loving yourself, love your fellow women. Tell others they look beautiful. Spread the compliments. Our thoughts and words can be powerful.
Now I’m going to go flaunt my thunder thighs. Anyone want to Indian leg wrestle?