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The thigh gap obsession

April 16th 2013 / Anna Hunter

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Anna Hunter reports on the worrying trend for wanting super skinny thighs

For confirmation that the Internet is crazy, look no further than the latest bodily fixation sensation: the thigh gap. Coming to a Tumblr, blog or Twitter feed near you, the thigh gap is rapidly overtaking cleavage and the six-pack in the physical desirability stakes for teens everywhere; a trend for wanting super skinny legs that don’t ‘meet’ at the top. While breast implants and permanent residency in the gym are matters of personal choice and not exactly commendable to growing teens, there’s something altogether more sinister about the growing thigh gap obsession.

Sites such as Do It For The Thigh Gap (thighgaplove.tumblr.com) and Thigh Gap Hack (thighgaphack.com) encourage girls and women alike to ‘Keep Calm and Thigh Gap On’, living by the mantra ‘Feet together; thighs apart’. These and a plethora of other sites devoted to the coveted thigh gap deliver a constant stream of ‘thinspiration’ to keep followers ‘on track’ because ‘everything looks better on skinny girls’.

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General boniness is now not enough however: if your legs aren’t prepubescent matchsticks you’re not working hard enough. In essence, these sites and blogs are no different to damaging pro-anorexia websites; the most worrying element is that they are becoming more and more prolific and attracting a huge community of vulnerable young women. Online, seemingly anyone is an expert, and manipulative motivation is fed to girls on the premise that crossing your legs is ‘darn near impossible and very uncomfortable to do with thigh-thighs’ and that ‘men think it’s super hot’. Other examples of thigh gap brainwashing range from ‘you look taller’ and ‘thigh gaps make the issues from chafing thighs obsolete’. I could go on. For days.

The thigh gap’s breeding Twitter presence is also a cause for concern. Cara Delevingne’s thigh gap has its own account (not managed by her I must add) with over two thousand followers and the tagline ‘@Caradelevingne works me out everyday so I can stay this perfect. Thanks mum!’. Other tweeting thighs include @CalderThighGap, an account dedicated to the slender thighs of Eleanor Calder (Louis of One Direction’s other half).

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While Cara and Eleanor are keeping their distance from their thigh gap alter egos, other celebrities are shamelessly tweeting about their diminishing thighs, with former TOWIE star Maria Fowler posting an image with the caption ‘Can I join the thigh gap gang?... Not quite Miss Delevingne but it’s getting there’. Not that we’d ever elevate any members of the TOWIE cast to role model status, but such a misguided post is alarming evidence of the constant barrage of body image erosion that young girls are met with on a second by second basis in cyberspace.

Most sensible ladies are well aware that thighs, bosoms and bottoms come with the glorious territory of womanhood. Harmful fads such as the thigh gap create a cult of shame around femininity, suggesting that boyish, skeletal frames are the physiques to aim for. If you don’t already have a God-given gap, the only route to thigh separation is surgery or starvation - this isn’t a goal that you can aim for in the gym.

Bodyism’s Nathalie Schyllert agrees: ‘It’s not possible for everyone to get the thigh gap genetically. Instead of a gap we should have a goal to get toned, athletic, feminine legs’. To achieve this, Nathalie advises using Bodyism exercise bands ‘to lift your bum and tone your thighs. Yoga is also great to give you toned and athletic yet slim legs’. Combine this with a healthy, protein-rich diet and your pins will be feeling perkier than ever, gap or no gap.

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