Familiar with the term “thigh gap”? If you’re not, it’s something far too many women are concerned with and striving for- it’s the area of space between your thighs when you stand with your feet and knees touching. Supposedly, if you have a thigh gap, it means you’re “skinny”, which I think is a load of crap. Sure, back when I was in my teens and highly influenced by these types of things and achieving a certain physical appearance, mind you, not by healthy eating and working out, I wanted the thigh gap! My legs have always been something I’ve been a little self conscience about (much less these days, though!) because I just wanted them to be smaller. I wanted a thigh gap, I wanted little stick legs, and I definitely didn’t want this type of muscle:
(nothing like post workout pump!)
During my research phase of this post, I googled “thigh gap” and was amazed and saddened by some of the sites that resulted from my search: “How to get a thigh gap” (<– what?!). But, as I scrolled through the page, I was happy to see just as many articles talking about why “thigh gaps” are not something to strive for.
The spark behind this post was during a conversation with RM a few weeks ago. I forget all the details, but somehow thigh gaps came up (likely from a dumb reality TV show in the background) and RM asked if I had one. He was actually a little surprised when I told him I didn’t have one, which I can only attribute it to the fact that the media portrays the thigh gap as common and easily attainable. Pair that with the fact that I am physically pretty fit, he seemed to think I would have one- they go hand in hand, right? Wrong.
Some people may naturally be built with a frame that creates a thigh gap, but the notion behind the idea that people actually WORK to get a thigh gap is what troubles me. We are all born with different bodies and because of genetics, there’s only so much we can do to change/alter that. Sure, eating healthy and being physically active helps, but if you put 10 women in a room and put them all on the same diet and workout plan, no two are going to look exactly the same. That’s just science and the nature of genetics, my friends.
Personally, I know I carry more weight in my legs- it’s just the way it goes. But, long gone are the days where I would spend deliberate time trying to do exercises to make my legs smaller and rather these days I’m trying to get stronger legs by upping my weights and doing lots of various leg exercises to build strong muscles. Are my legs bigger now as a result? Sure- a little! But it’s strong muscle and when I see a reflection of myself and see my strong muscle, I’m reminded that it’s so much more appealing to me than the skinny stick legs I used to long for.
It kills me that the media highlights women who have super skinny arms and a flat stomach and legs that likely don’t touch because although I can see through it and not let those images make me feel less worthy, there are so many women who are not able to do this. There are too many women who struggle with body image issues who end up looking at the magazine covers, longing for the same body as whoever is on the cover that month. Women who lower their self worth because they don’t look like so-and-so. Women who workout because they hate their body. But the kicker is, magazines photoshop the crap out of the models on the cover and throughout the issue to make them look as “perfect” as possible. Here’s thought, though- why not show pictures of REAL women? Women who have legs that touch. Women who aren’t photoshopped. Women who haven’t spent hours in hair and make-up and wardrobe. Women who have muscles and cellulite and messy hair and sweat. What about those women? What’s so bad about that image? NOTHING. Absolutely nothing.
Although this post got a little longer than I intended, the point behind it is that we shouldn’t judge our self-worth by thigh gaps, photoshopped women on the covers of magazines, and the un-realistic way the media portrays women. We are more than that and even though my thighs touch and I’ve got cellulite on my butt and crazy curly hair, I am strong, I am kind, and I am a real woman. And I’m proud of that. And I urge you to look in the mirror and do the same- pick out things you love about your body or that you are proud of and stop comparing yourself to the women on the cover of the magazines. You’ll feel so liberated once you get rid of the notion that you need to look like them to feel good about yourself. I promise you that.
Questions for you: What’s the biggest thing that bothers you about the way the media portrays women? If there was one thing you could tell yourself to stop hating and to start embracing, what would that be?