Monday, March 25, 2013

Mind The Thigh Gap

There have been all sorts of body images for women to chase over the years. Get rail-thin. Have tiny feet. Hourglass figure. Big breasts. Botox. Western-style eyes. This year's Oscar swag bag included something called a vampire facelift, in which you have blood drawn from your arm and injected into your face (as demonstrated here by Kim Kardashian). Every celebrity magazine out there is guaranteed to have pages and pages devoted to what someone needs to go out and buy in order to 'steal someone's look' (and usually that's going to run at least a couple hundred bucks). Simply listing them all off would take days, and even if you do them all, it may still not be enough because the figure you're chasing may have been digitally enhanced to the point where it's simply impossible to reach.

We can now add 'thigh gap' to the list. Or at least the name 'thigh gap'; this is not the first time it's been a thing (it's previously been known as the 'horseshoe shape' or 'inner thigh clearance'.) Thigh gap is what you get if you've got your knees together and there's space between your thighs. The term 'thigh gap' is currently showing at 6,460,000 Google results. For comparison, 'Danube River' returns 3,290,000; 'Potala Palace', the Tibetan home of the exiled Dalai Lama, returns only 824,000. Towards the top of the search results are Tumblr blogs showing pictures of young women, some with visible hip bones. By the results of a bit of poking around, it appears that the catalyst here, and the goal, may be a British model named Cara Delevingne. At least, if the Twitter account 'Cara's Thigh Gap' is anything to go by.

There's been some relatively quick pushback on this. This has come for a couple reasons: first, women, with more influence in the body image wars than they've previously had (such as the other times this has been a thing), have been able to push back; and second... guys out there? Honestly? Show of hands, how many of you were actually looking for this specific thing in a woman without needing to be told that you were? Because I sure wasn't. Clearly someone is, or else this would have never gotten off the ground, but really, I agree with Bertie Brandes of VICE: this is little more than an excuse to get you to starve yourself thin, and besides, if you really want a gap between your thighs, stand with your legs apart.

And a third thing: thigh gap isn't the kind of thing you can attain. It's just a matter of how you're built and how wide your hips are. You've either got one or you don't. It's genetics. You could starve yourself to baby weight and not be able to get it. Seriously do not go chasing after something that your body may not even be able to physically do, whether it's this or anything else. Just get yourself a reasonably healthy body and if you were meant to ever have a thigh gap, it'll show up. If it doesn't, oh well.

And do try to stop looking at the Victoria's Secret runway as something you have to do. Guys generally give up on pro sports dreams after a while. The Victoria's Secret runway is the same basic thing. Only so many women are getting on that catwalk. That's one of the All-Star Games of modeldom. So you're not the equivalent of Justin Verlander. That's pretty much what you're chasing after. It's okay.

Nobody else around you got onto that catwalk either.

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