The thigh gap.
Surely you’ve heard about this new pinnacle of sexy. There are whole websites in honor of it. Brand new diets designed to help people reach it. And it is the latest craze among teenage girls, many of whom will do anything to achieve it.
It is also absolutely the silliest thing I have heard of in years. But with that being said, no one should underestimate the danger this craze poses for women and especially young girls.
As the father of a 16 year-old girl, I do all that I can to stay on top of what’s impacting them, and the latest trends and issues. So I hate to say I know all about the thigh gap craze. Luckily, I knew about it and was prepared for it, even before the craze entered my home. My daughter was declining to eat anything other than seeds and fruit the other day at dinner and of course my wife and I suspected something was up. And then came those words, the pursuit of the thigh gap.
In case you’re one of those people who has somehow managed to not hear about this, let me tell you what it is. The thigh gap is when there is literally a gap between a female’s thighs when she puts her feet side by side, touching. That’s it. That’s what many women are after today.
I am not sure what started this craze, but it now being touted as the "gold standard" of thin. This development is terrible not only because it once again forces these largely unattainable standards of beauty on women and young girls, but it also leads to eating disorders and frustration for those who will never achieve it. What most don’t know is the thigh gap, for those women who do have it, is largely the result of bone structure, not thinness. Women who have it typically have hip bones that are wider apart, which is why there can be that gap between their thighs. For those women whose hips are closer, even if in perfect shape, the thigh gap is not likely unless very unhealthy measures are taken to achieve it. Even so, a female fitness trainer I spoke with says it is the most common goal for many women who come into her gym. And she agrees it is a wasted goal because it is not about health or fitness in any way.
I have to say that as a man I know we are lucky that for the most part we don’t get caught up in these kinds of physical “beauty contests” that women go through. But I know we play a large role in pushing along some of these crazy standards, whether it is for big boobs and a tiny waist, long thin legs in high heel shoes, or the thigh gap. There is nothing like having a teenage daughter to drive home how powerful these standards are and how important it is for us to realize they are not harmless. On the contrary, they are quite dangerous, certainly physically but also emotionally and psychologically.
The thigh gap craze is just the latest trend. Another will follow. I just hope we can do more to keep young girls from getting caught up in them. The most important part of preventing this type of stuff is the men surprisingly, especially fathers, who cannot only help their daughters and others, but who can call out other men for pushing these ridiculous notions of beauty in the first place.