This is where it starts: the coveted thigh gap. What the fuck is the thigh gap and how can I get one is what many teens are asking after seeing a recent segment on ABC that suggests that the thigh gap is the it status symbol this season for teen girls. I am here to tell you that the thigh gap is nothing new. Girls have been in pursuit of the thigh gap since the beginning of time. How do I know? Well, I was one of the chosen who had a thigh gap in my early 20’s. It was hard earned and I was proud of it.
It sounds completely ridiculous. Believe me, I know. It is when a girl stands with her feet together and there is a small gap between the legs from the ankles to the top of the thighs. What does it mean? To those of us who are obsessed with body image or have lived in the skin of the eating disordered, the thigh gap is the coveted affirmation that we did it. It is the holy grail of thinspiration.
There are entire Tumbler sites devoted to the thigh gap. Not unlike pro-ana sites, these sites provide support for the girl in search of the thigh gap and praise when she succeeds. There is no one to worry about her health or tell her that she needs to eat, there is only “You go girl! Way to be dedicated.” No one cares if she is killing herself because they all are. Misery enjoys
No one cares if she is killing herself because they all are. Misery enjoys company and the internet makes sure that the miserable body image obsessed and sad little starving girls with eating disorders have a place forlike-mindedd support. Hell yeah, they will support you right into the grave. Hell, they’d even be your pall bearers if you asked them. Now, that’s what I call friends. Of course, you’d need about 47 of them to carry your 65 pound body because they are all so frail.
It’s just one more piece of pro-ana propaganda perpetuating the unattainable body image portrayed by the media. The thigh gap is usually seen on extremely stressed out actresses, people who have health issues and tissue eating waif thin models. Sure there are a chosen few who eat normally and have a natural thigh gap but everyone else? Well, they are most likely airbrushed. That’s the great thing about Photoshop; thigh gaps for everyone. God, I really wish I could be Photoshopped in real life. I’ve been in eating disorder recovery for 15 years and I still miss my thigh gap.
But there are a few dedicated girls, who will starve themselves in pursuit of the thigh gap. Girls who just will not take no for an answer; no matter the cost. Most women are not genetically designed to have a thigh gap. If you see a girl with a thigh gap, you are more than likely looking at a woman with an eating disorder who is starving herself to have a pair of stick thin legs to carry her weary body from the dinner table to the toilet or someone who is dying from some horrible affliction like cancer.
Teen girls these days want the thigh gap as a status symbol; like wearing designer clothing. If you have a thigh gap, you are perceived as having not only the perfect body but the perfectly unattainable body. You are like a fucking unicorn. It’s like having perfect C-cup boobs that will never sag or being born with no body hair except for eyebrows and the hair on your head. It is not natural and it is a fucking figment of your imagination.
I saw this segment and I thought to myself, I hope my daughters never look in the mirror and judge the worth of who they are based on a gap between their legs because we are more than what is or isn’t between our legs. Isn’t that what I’ve been trying to teach them since they were born? Then just as quickly, I caught myself looking in the mirror at myself longing for the place where my thigh gap once was, where now my thighs kiss and I was filled with shame. I’m a grown woman and the thigh gap is still a status symbol. It doesn’t gauge whether or not I am cool. It is the measure of my self-control or the lack thereof.
I wish I could say I was above and beyond the thigh gap but the truth is here I am still searching for that void. My point is this, if you see your daughter searching in the mirror for her own thigh gap, get her to a doctor because the thigh gap goes way beyond a status symbol, it is a disordered way of thinking and will most likely lead to disordered eating. The saddest part of all is that what may seem inconsequential and silly to you, to a teen girl who bases her self-worth on what others think, that little gap can mean misery and failure.