I Think I Found My Thigh GapPosted: November 25, 2013
This morning I went to the mirror to try to figure out what this “thigh gap” trend is all about. To be honest, reading about it has been very confusing for me and I’m not sure I totally get it. I thought it must be a super-young-person thing—kind of like when my nine-year-old nephew tried to explain to me how to play Bakugan with him and I couldn’t figure out what he was talking about—but then I read that women as well as teen girls have been measuring themselves against this latest “ideal” of beauty.
Curious, I gave it a go. I stood in front of my reflection to try to find a gap between my thighs that—if it existed—would supposedly mean I was more attractive than those who didn’t have it. Standing with my feet together, I definitely didn’t have one. Spreading my legs apart a bit so my feet weren’t touching each other—leaving just an inch or so between them—I still didn’t have one.
Inch by inch, I put distance between my feet until a tiny sliver of a gap finally appeared between my thighs. There it is! Only . . . I think the gap is supposed to be there when my feet are touching each other, not when they are six inches apart, or it doesn’t count as a thigh gap.
I started to mentally run through a list of exercises I could do to make this thigh gap happen: Thighmaster (do they even sell this anymore?), leg lifts, attaching weights to my legs . . . wait, what am I doing, stop this!
Admittedly, there was a time when I might have really tried to lose weight to get my thighs to the shape where there would be a gap in between them even if it isn’t really possible for someone with my body type. Still, I would have felt like I wasn’t “good enough” otherwise—attaching my sense of worth to someone else’s ideal of what is desirable.
But what exactly is an “ideal” except for an idea with a letter “L” attached to the end of it? Something like this “thigh gap”—an idea that someone came up with in his/her own mind—isn’t real unless we all buy into it and make it so.
A few days ago I stumbled upon an Upworthy story on Facebook. In it there was this video about the man in Venezuela who is responsible for cultivating the nation’s beauty queens. The problem is that his standard for what is beautiful is so unrealistic that no one can achieve it—not the candidates, not even the nation’s mannequins—without undergoing mass reconstruction.
Even this man admits his ideal of beauty is straight out of his head and not based on anything else. So I wonder, what happens if he changes his mind and decides that short, small-breasted, and flat-assed women are next year’s new beauty standard? Will all these women and mannequins go under the knife yet again?
What happens if someone else takes over his job and this person has a preference for big feet and bone-thin arms and belly buttons that stick out? What if whoever came up with thigh gaps this year decides next year that women and girls are more attractive if their teeth don’t touch when they open their mouths to smile? Will the annual number of oral surgeon visits rise?
I once dated a guy who wanted me to get plastic surgery so that my nose wouldn’t bump out on top. I have the nose that I have because of my mother, who has the same type of nose—and in the Philippines, our noses are considered closer to the idealized shape than the more typical, “flatter” noses. (It seems to me the prerequisite for any standard of beauty is that only a small minority of the population is born that way—everyone else needs to undergo surgery. More profitable, I suppose.)
But this boyfriend of mine, who wasn’t from the Philippines, had a different idea of beauty. “If you just get a nose job, you’ll look perfect,” he assured me. I think it’s because he couldn’t stand his mother, whose nose resembled mine.
Can we please revolt against these made up trends and standards? We can start by simply ignoring them. They only have power over us because we give our power to them. Take our power back, and perfect abs and thigh gaps are just idea_s of beauty (no letter “L”) that exist only in someone’s mind and not at all in reality. Now that’s the kind of gap I’d really like to see.