North Texas Daily

Mind the gap: thigh craze hurts women

Mind the gap: thigh craze hurts women

Mind the gap: thigh craze hurts women
October 17
12:31 2013

Type the words “thigh gap” into Google and in return will come a flood of cautionary news articles, frightening weight-loss blogs and images of women with shockingly thin legs.

Body image trends come and go with the changing of the seasons, but social media is spreading one fad that influences young women to take on dangerous and unnecessary eating habits.

A “thigh gap” refers to the space between a woman’s thighs when standing with her feet together and is viewed by many young women as a high achievement of health and fitness.

The spacing between a person’s legs is based primarily on genetics. Having the distinct separation requires someone to be both skinny and wide-hipped, a fairly uncommon combination.

However, social media sites make it seem as though a thigh gap is easily accomplished. Tumblr and Facebook feature first-hand accounts of young women, from teens to 20-somethings, who have achieved a thigh gap through extreme exercise and dieting. Entire blogs are dedicated to celebrities who have thighs that don’t touch.

The sudden obsession with super-slender thighs contains a strange element of elitism. The underlying message is that having thighs that don’t touch somehow makes a person better than everyone else.

For decades, the media has been accused of setting unrealistic beauty standards, causing women to risk their health to look like famous fashion icons. Condemnation of the media is nothing new.

But, the social connections that exist on the Internet are new. Facebook and Tumblr users are not only looking at pictures of movies stars and models, but their friends and other everyday people as well.

Celebrities seem “make believe,” their bodies unreal. Friends, classmates, and sorority sisters are all part of the real world. Their words are far more believable.

Social media may be inescapable, but it’s time to stop absorbing what is seen on the screen and applying it to what is seen in the mirror.

The gap between a person’s thighs has absolutely no relevance as to their worth. It is incredibly distressing to see young women starve and purge to achieve an atypical body image.

Young women need to stop worrying about distancing their thighs and start thinking about distancing themselves from toxic online communities.

Melissa Wylie is a journalism junior. She can be reached at melissawylie01@gmail.com

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