I have a confession to make. On a good day, I have a thigh gap. By definition, this is when there’s a gap between one’s thighs when they’re standing up straight with their feet together. Sometimes my thigh gap is there in the morning but gone by afternoon, only to return again the next day. And guess what? The world doesn’t stop turning when my thigh gap disappears. I don’t feel like I’ve suddenly failed at life, nor do I feel like I’m a better person when I have one and a worse person when I don’t. Essentially I’m still the same person, thigh gap or no.
It makes me sad that something as trivial as the girth of a woman’s thighs is the focus of so much attention, when more important qualities aren’t given much attention at all; qualities such as honesty, kindness, humility, compassion, and empathy. Who cares about that? Apparently, as long as you’ve got a thigh gap you don’t need to worry about being a good person.
You may have seen Target’s butchered images recently, where the poor girl had her labia and half her vagina removed to enhance an already-existent thigh gap, as well as having other parts of her hacked away or stretched out. You may have also seen this short clip, which shows how Photoshop can transform a healthy looking woman into some kind of a human Barbie doll. There’s even a website and accompanying book instructing you how to eliminate that “chub rub” once and for all. I don’t know about you, but I would never want to “lose bulky overdeveloped muscles” in pursuit of a thigh gap.
These are the messages that girls and women are bombarded with every day, from all directions, it’s hardly any wonder we suffer from physique anxiety as much as we do. It’s a tricky issue; on the one hand, I know how good it feels to truly be comfortable with the size and shape of my body, and how much confidence this can bring, yet, on the other hand, striving to look like something that is literally impossible (like a heavily Photoshopped image) will only bring heartache and disappointment.
The only person you should ever compare yourself to is you. You will always and only ever be you, so to try to be somebody else is a waste of time. And your version of being comfortable in your own skin is probably going to be different from the next person’s – it’s an individual thing – the size and shape where you feel most comfortable in nobody’s business but your own.
Have you ever seen a woman walking through a crowded room, head held high, shoulders back, confident and completely happy with who she is? She is beautiful, regardless of her hair colour, skin colour, age, height, or the girth of her thighs. Does she have a thigh gap? Who bloody cares! She certainly doesn’t. Compare that with another woman walking across the same room, shoulders stooped, gaze cast down at her feet, tugging at her clothes self-consciously. It’s easy to see that this woman doesn’t love herself. Technically, she may be a beautiful woman, but she doesn’t see it or believe it, and that makes it very hard for other people to do so.
I think it’s about time the media started focusing more on the meaningful stuff, like why it’s important to be beautiful on the inside, and less on the superficial crap, like thigh gaps. Because, let’s face it, sooner or later we’re all going to lose our looks, and if there’s nothing else to us what will we be left with?