The Dark Side of Glamour
Thigh Gap – New Age Anorexia
Original Source of Image: No longer available
In case you are unfamiliar with this term, “Thigh Gap” is the space between the thighs when a woman (or man) is standing with their feet together.
After hitting puberty, most healthy human beings will develop enough muscle for their thighs to meet. Some women will still have a small gap naturally, due to wide hip structure. Other women will not be able to accomplish the “gap” without going to unhealthy lengths.
There are forums, websites, and a twitter hashtag dedicated to such unhealthy lengths, and although often categorized as “health and fitness” – none … (and I have had a thorough look) … NONE of these advocates have any education in nutrition, fitness, or health.
This is the next generation of a misguided definition of “beauty”. Young women are insecure about how we look: it’s a fact. We are not comforted by being told “you are beautiful”, “you are special”, “you are unique and that is gorgeous”. We want to know HOW MUCH.
Where on the scale are we? And where on the scale is everyone else? We want a number. A metric. Thigh gap is the newest metric.
This is a problem.
It Isn’t Attractive
Let us examine the grid of legs.
None of these legs look healthy. In fact, most of them are indeed unhealthy – not from starving themselves attempting to attain “thigh gap” but from various diseases, disadvantages, and disabilities.
Can you tell which are which?
If you can’t tell which are which , this should be a huge red flag. Why would you want to look ill? Who finds that attractive?
Grid of Legs “Answers”
A – malnourished African child
B – woman with chronic fatigue syndrome
C – girl from the UK attempting to attain “thigh gap” (died only weeks after this picture was taken)
D – man with HIV/AIDS
E – Nazi concentration camp victim
F – child with muscular dystrophy
G – paraplegic woman
H – teenage girl pursuing “thigh gap”
I – model idolized for her “thigh gap”
I had a brief moment of insanity where I thought, because I have included here so many images of thigh gap and unhealthy bodies, that I should conclude this article by including an image of what a healthy body looks like. A couple maybe to help promote women to think positively about themselves.
I got as far as the Google image search engine and upon asking myself what I should put in there I realized – THERE IS NO SUCH IMAGE. There is no healthy ideal. Every body is different. Everybody is different.
“Anything worth having is hard to get”. If we don’t have to work hard and hurt and sacrifice and suffer for beauty, then we cannot truly be obtaining it. Is there a solution? A way to change the collective ideals of young women to be more content in who they are?
A Note from the Editor-in-Chief
When you first lay eyes on me, you’ll notice that I’m “blessed” with thigh gap. What you don’t see is that I’m suffering from Graves’ Disease, an autoimmune disease that has attacked my thyroid to induce an extreme case of hyperthyroidism. In addition, I have mobile kneecaps that allow my legs to bend at an unnatural angle to create that thigh gap.
Am I lucky? I think not.
Untreated Graves’ Disease can result in an overactive thyroid, creating a bulge out from your neck. I looked like I just swallowed a rat whole and the little rascal got stuck in my throat. This disease also pushed out my eyes, creating that bug eye look. I had wonderful thigh gap, but from the waist up I looked like a bullfrog. To make it worse, my Graves’ Disease weakened my muscles and my mental state.
I was completely useless in sports/exercise of any kind; I could not lift objects heavier than a jug of milk; I slept horribly and I thought illogically and irrationally.
Not a fair trade at all. Since then, I have received treatment for Graves’ and am feeling much more physically able and mentally stable. Luckily, all those scary symptoms faded away.
People do not realize how much trouble is involved in getting, maintaining, or having that little gap. Even worse, people do not realize that the underlying problem is the misunderstanding of how to achieve beauty.
How about concentrating on expanding your brain space instead?
Beauty is an illusion. It is a dreamy ideal that has been drilled into your brains as something that you should be striving for. It is a concept that businesses love to take advantage of to fill their pockets. Apparently, everyone can be beautiful and stay beautiful forever … for a price.
It takes a HUGE team of creative and business minds to mold the idea of beauty into something that can be bottled and sold. The world is full of products, services, images, and ideals of beauty, but which one is right?
The Right Way to Do it
It is not wrong or stupid to want to be beautiful, but beauty isn’t a simple achievement. Very few people are blessed with perfect genetics – the rest of us have to work for it. Lucky for us, so many factors can be manipulated to develop our own sense of gorgeousness, and you don’t have to score 100/100 points in all those factors. I let you in on the three …
Factor 1: The Human Body
Everyone has their own definition of beauty, but everyone has different genetic makeups and lifestyles, resulting in different body shapes and sizes. The size and shape you have may be something you want to change. Your first step is to define your ideal shape – do you want to look womanly and seductive or youthfully active? There is no right answer, but the choice is made easier if take in account your own body shape. If you have mosquito bite breasts matched with a skinny, shapeless frame, perhaps you should consider the youthful beauty look. If you are voluptuously curvy, perhaps you should consider the womanly beauty look.
Now find out if you are facing any physical challenges. See a properly licensed and informative physician (not a herbalist, naturopathic, or a so-called health specialist) and ask if they can find out anything wrong with your body. Perhaps your struggle with physical beauty is a result of a disease or problems with your lifestyle. A proper physician will examine your lifestyle and send you out for health tests. Also, find out from a properly licensed and informative physician how much weight you can gain/lose over a specific time period to stay in the “healthy” zone”, what options are available, and what other health professionals can help.
Find out from a proper medical specialist if your perception of beauty is attainable. Be open-minded. The answer you get may not be what you want to hear. Perhaps the issue you are having is a mental misperception of what beauty is. It is not surprising that many cases of body abuse is a result of mental misperceptions. Do not be afraid to seek professional help if your ideals are deemed mentally unsound.
Physical beauty takes work, disciple, and patience. Make realistic goals based on sound medical advice and stayed focused.
Sure, every girl wants to be Victoria Secret Bombshell. I want to win a banillion dollars, but it’s not going to happen. There are limitations to what we can do and have, but there are other aspects of beauty we can improve on to mask our deficiencies.
Factor 2: Your Fashion Style
Ever watch one of those teen movies where the “ugly”, loner girl is transformed into a jaw dropping beauty? Your fashion style, which includes clothing, posture, and cleanliness, plays a big role on how people perceive you. Fashion styling is not about brand names or current fashion trends; it is all about accentuating the beauty you already have.
Seek third party help on this one – someone who can provide you with critical, honest, and constructive feedback. Friends and family may not always be the best choice – your loved ones may be too afraid of hurting your feelings or are already awed by the beauty you created through your personality.
A informative and disillusioned fashion and etiquette specialist can help clean up your personal style, so that it is more attractive and less offensive to the general populace. Be wary on who you choose – fashion styling, like the beauty industry, is heavily business-oriented and may not put your needs ahead of the business’ desire for profits.
Factor 3: Pursuit of Happiness
Many people are amazed by how much your behavior can affect your sense of beauty. Ever see a drool worthy man head over heels for his voluptuous wife and wonder, “how in the world did she land a man like him?” The secret is happiness.
That’s why a girl who exudes contagious happiness, self-confidence, independence, and kindness shines brighter than any goddess shaped, self-centered bitch. You may not see it right away – this radiant beauty takes time to sink in, but it lasts so much more longer and spreads outward, improving the lives of those she connects to.
Create happiness that will last – work on improving your personality and skills. Then find ways to contribute to your community. There is no end to personal growth or community involvement, so as you improve upon yourself and the community, the more happy and fulfilled you will become.
Concentrate on the positive. “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” (Japanese Proverb). If you concentrate on how many times you fail, you will never be able to appreciate your successes. Let your successes drive you forward and let your failures (and the failures of others) paint a clearer, straighter path.
Beauty consists of so many factors; it is not just about the way you look. Real beauty is the possession and display of happiness in your health, your lifestyle, and your outlook on life. Think about your personality, your achievements, and the people you attract. Look in the mirror now and smile. Do you feel beautiful?