Trends come and go in every aspect of Western society, whether this is the recent fad of wearing crop tops despite currently experiencing a blizzard outside, the flood of the ‘edgy’ style every student has embraced, and apparently even in the weight loss world. I personally do not follow developments in the dieting bubble though I do know they occur just as frequently as those in the fashion world; the Atkins diet was probably the beginning, then there was a need for prominent collar bones, and now the thigh gap obsession has taken over.
Obviously we are influenced by models and celebrities at any age, yet the thigh gap has taken a toll on a younger generation; the student type. As social media becomes a phenomenon in which every student or young professional is engaged with, blogs, Twitter feeds and Facebook groups have been dedicated to ‘the thigh gap’ in all its glory. On Facebook, one group devoted to the gap has over 789,000 likes and is in constant use in terms of uploads and comments. Most of these are from males who are appreciating the photos on the page, yet females are subjected to this in a sense that if they have ‘the gap’ they think more guys will find them attractive.
Yet this is taken to the extreme in many cases. Girls are becoming obsessed with reducing fat levels from their legs even if they don’t naturally possess this body shape; it’s a girl-thing that most boys wouldn’t notice unless you were to inform them. Blogs are now committed to the cause with some bombarding readers with images of protruding hip bones and unhealthily thin legs with captions such as ‘I need to be skinnier’ and ‘push, push until your thighs don’t touch’ as a form of inspiration. Tips are given on how to starve yourself, what foods you should and shouldn’t be eating and intense work-out plans as methods to reach the goal. Girls are looking up to the contributors of such blogs and social media accounts; the images of thigh gaps are seen as something they should aspire to have, yet when did this idea become a frenzy that so many would be sucked into?
Many news and media outlets have reported on the same topic with models and magazines being at blame. The Victoria’s Secret fashion show has been intrinsically linked with the hype around the craze, with some reference to Cara Delevinge; a model for many fashion brands such as Burberry and Chanel. There is even a Twitter page set up for her individual thigh gap which currently has over 2000 followers, thus showing the extremes of the fad. Other models associated with it include Maud Welzen, Miranda Kerr and Karlie Kloss; yes they are seen as role models for the female population, but how much influence have they actually had on this particular perception of body image?
Models featuring on television and in magazines have always been thinner than the average woman. Although this has forever been the case, I’m not suggesting that it is acceptable, however I don’t think this is the origin of the thigh gap obsession. I don’t think there is singular cause. Like I said, trends come and go as they do in every industry, though social media outlets seem to have amplified and spread this particular idea. Therefore we need to focus our attention on the internet. Pinterest have condemned any form of ‘thinspiration’ presented on their site and Tumblr are strictly against any form of self-harm promotion, but there’s always a way around this, right? And those sites are still being flooded with negative representations of what we should look like, whether this is the prominent collar bone, the amplified jaw line or that holy thigh gap.
Women, and an ever growing number of girls have always been body conscious for numerous reasons, and I understand that there is pressure to look the ‘right’ way in order to be accepted. However starving yourself or exercising excessively to have an extra inch or two between your thighs is not the key to that success, and more people need to recognise the power social media has on creating an unrealistic ideal for the younger generation.
I know some girls naturally have a thigh gap down to their genetics, and this isn’t a grill against you or the way your shape has developed. This is a message to all the girls who are striving for one when it isn’t healthy nor necessary to look good. Just because it’s a fad right now doesn’t mean that you have to conform; it makes me question what the next ‘ultimate goal’ Western society sets for us will be and whether or not it will be just as outrageous as a beloved break between your legs.