The Worrying Thigh Gap Trend
Trends come and go, and over the years we’ve seen more than our fair share of them. From the washboard abs of the 90s to the more recent Butt Lift surgeries – it’s safe to say that when it comes to our bodies (and particularly women’s bodies) we’re continually striving to change them. While no-one’s going to lose sleep over upping your exercise regime or eating a little more healthily, there’s been an increasing number of more worrying trends cropping up lately. We’re talking of course about the thigh gap.
What is a thigh gap?
A thigh gap occurs when your thighs do not meet at the top. While some women are naturally slim and therefore have a small gap between their thighs, others are doing everything they can to achieve this notorious silhouette. For those without a natural thigh gap, this means putting in endless hours at the gym, eating nothing but healthy salads & smoothies, and even undergoing Liposuction – all in a bid to look slimmer.
Where has the trend come from?
The thigh gap trend has been heavily influenced by social media. We live in a culture where spending hours on sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram is daily practice – and it’s almost too easy to hide behind a screen and comment on people’s photos, posts – their entire online presence even. That’s before we take into account the enormous pressure felt by women young and old to have the perfect body – with our idea of perfection adapting with every new trend that emerges.
Some may say that it’s because of social media that such pressure is exacerbated. Before the creation of Facebook and Instagram, women were bombarded with photo-shopped images of celebrities, splashed across the front cover of a newspaper or their favourite magazine – but that’s about where it ended. These days, there’s a photo filter for every perceived flaw – so whether you think your skin’s looking a little peaky or you don’t like the size of your bum/ thighs/ stomach, you can quickly solve your problem with a click of a button and a swipe of a screen. In real life however, it’s not so easy to erase the areas you’re not so fond of, which may well be what leads people to developing an unhealthy obsession with their appearance, in the belief that following trends will not only make them feel better about themselves, but will also make them more accepted within their social circle.
It’s not just social media which shapes our body image – celebrities hold great influence over us, especially where teenage girls are concerned. While some celebrities openly admit to having a natural thigh gap, others are constantly posting snaps of their gym efforts online with taglines such as: “GYM & @MuscleFoodUK combined – Results showing already #Thighgap #mealprep #Recommend” – Imogen Thomas, we’re looking at you!
On the back of this, an alarming number of young women and teenage girls are striving to achieve the coveted thigh gap, leading them to starve themselves and push their bodies to the limits with exercise.
This can be seen from the emergence of websites dedicated to the trend, such as Thigh Gap Hack and Do It For The Thigh Gap, encouraging women to ‘Keep Calm and Thigh Gap On’. The notion that ‘everything looks better on skinny girls’ causes young women to develop an unhealthy obsession with their bodies and their physical appearance, leading them to believe that a thigh gap is something positive to strive for.
Perhaps even more cause for concern is the Twitter account created by a Cara Delevingne fan. @Cara’sThighGap has over 5,000 followers, with the account holder regularly tweeting ‘inspirational’ images of the model. Meanwhile Cara, whose thigh gap is the natural result of what she calls her “bow legs”, considers it one of her accepted body flaws. The 22 year old said in an interview with the Mail Online in January: “My body is not perfect, and I love that. I have bow legs. Some people have straight legs but I have bow legs. And a thigh gap.”
#NoThighGap – just as dangerous?
With all this talk of body shaming women for not having the coveted space between their thighs, it was only a matter of time before people hit back at the trend and another emerged – introducing #NoThighGap. On the one hand, it’s a positive step that women are proud of their bodies and not afraid to show them off, no thigh gap and all.
Girls star Lena Dunham took to Instagram to show her appreciation of the #NoThighGap movement.
On the other hand however, there’s no escaping the fact that these women are inadvertently body shaming those for whom the thigh gap comes as part of their naturally slim body – potentially leading to slimmer women and girls feeling embarrassed by their ‘less-womanly’ figures.
Is there a happy medium?
While there’s no harm in wanting to exercise more or focus on eating healthier foods, resorting to extreme lengths, such as starvation, is not a healthy way to change your appearance. All things considered, this is definitely not a trend we would advocate here at The Harley Medical Group.
Bernadette Harte, Nurse at the Harley Medical Group said: “The lean look with regard to slender thighs does not suit everybody, especially if ladies are taller than average. In the case of slender legs, it's best not to wear clothes that are too short as they will make them appear malnourished.
“In my opinion ladies need to love who they are and not try to achieve someone else's body by lowering their calorie intake in order to achieve, for example, a thigh gap. Ladies need to focus more on their 'good bits' and become more confident as a result. Simple changes like wearing luxury fabrics next to the skin will make them feel more uplifted.”
Rather than focusing on other people’s ideals, it’s healthier to consider your own feelings. Focusing on what you love about your body will allow your confidence to shine through. While we offer Cosmetic Surgery such as Liposuction, we do not advise it to be used as a quick fix weight loss tool.
We encourage all of our prospective patients to book a FREE consultation with one of our experts where we will assess whether or not Cosmetic Surgery is right for you by discussing your end goals and what you’re hoping to achieve through your chosen procedure or treatment.