The rise of social media has made being comfortable with body image even harder for women, says Beth Perkin
News just in, girls: being skinny is no longer enough. In fact, having your garden variety eating disorder isn’t either. Nope, make way for the latest internet fad sweeping the laptop screens of Diet Coke sipping girls everywhere. Make way for the thigh gap.
“The thigh gap?” I hear you say, “Doesn’t everyone have one of those?” Well that’s what I thought too – afterall, if anyone stands with their legs far enough apart they will indeed find they have a space between their thighs. Turns out I couldn’t be more wrong. The new notion of the thigh gap, made popular on the hipster blogging site Tumblr, refers to when a person has a space between their thighs even when their legs are closed.
— stonerexic (@euphoricx_) November 4, 2014
It’s a trend that is at once scary and dangerous. The fact that skinniness no longer seems to be enough anymore is worrying. The goals young girls are setting themselves for their bodies are becoming more and more unattainable, and therefore more of a risk to their physical and mental health. But it can hardly come as a surprise considering that we are living in a society where the models that bombard us on TV and in magazines weigh 23% less than a healthy weight. Compare this with the 90s when models weighed only 8% under and you can start to comprehend the hole that we as a society are digging.
The internet only fans the flames of the skinny epidemic. Just typing “thigh gap” into Google produces a load of Tumblr blogs dedicated to this Holy Grail of skinny girl perfection: “got gap”, “thigh gap love” and “thigh gap nation” are just the tip of the blogosphere iceberg. Scrolling down I even found that Cara Delevigne had a Twitter account dedicated to the hollow cavity between her thighs (@CarasThighGap).
A few years ago, a group of girl friends would only have each other’s bodies to compare. But with the rise in social media, things have become much more complicated. Now, every young girl with access to a computer can see the unattainable bodies of women all over the world, can look at endless photographs of tanned models with perfect faces and matchstick legs. Now you can compare your body to the rest of the world.
So say no to Tumblr. Say no to the magazines and websites that tell you what make-up you should wear and how much you should weigh. Women may be free in that they can vote and work and do what they want with their lives, but we couldn’t be more trapped by the fashion and beauty industries who are forever raising the bar on what it is to be outwardly perfect. The thigh gap is just a product of these industries – an evil internet craze designed to make young girls feel bad about their bodies. So girls, please, eat a burger and say no to the thigh gap.
Featured image credit: katemarionrussellblog