The Thigh Gap
Last year, ABC received flak for running a news piece on the thigh gap. This informative news piece was meant to raise awareness of the trend of teen girls doing whatever they can to achieve a pronounced gap between their legs. This “gap” is supposedly achieved through diet and exercise which has caused some to develop eating disorders. Unfortunately, the news story segments were bookended by commercial breaks that included Victoria’s Secrets advertisements, ironically featuring models of which have thigh gaps. To some viewers this implied that the motivation behind the news feature was more about sensationalism than encouraging healthy living.
Why do you as a parent need to know about the thigh gap?
Parents need to know about this because you need to be aware of the pressures your daughters may be succumbing to. Talk to your daughter about it. Don’t think that talking about it will make it worse. Young girls need to know that anatomically the thigh gap is not the norm. This is the dangerous part–you can be underweight and your thighs still come together. All of the dieting and exercising in the world could still not result in the coveted thigh gap. Also, monitor the print, tv and internet media that your child views. More than likely YOU are paying for these things. Why not pay for healthier options? Instead of gravitating towards magazines that feature celebrities and models featuring our cultures physical ideal why not encourage (buy) reading that entices your daughter’s intellect and talents? Create discussions about their interests. Show an interest in what they are learning.
I only have sons, this does not pertain to me!
Parents also need to be aware of what their sons are learning about the objectification of women. You are not exempt from this discussion. Parents of sons are responsible for the messages that young men learn about women. Teach the bible principle of 1 Timothy 5: 1-2: “Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” Fathers, this means how you treat your wife speaks to how your son will treat his sisters and his future wife.
What if I’m not a parent, do I really need to know this?
If you are a man, you need to see how far some women are willing to go to live up to our objectified culture. Stop other men mid-sentence when they reduce women to pieces of meat. Be a champion of women’s health and well-being.
If you are a woman, you have the power to encourage. Girls today more than ever need to know that there is much more substance to them than outward appearance. But rather than saying this to a girl who has been thoroughly indoctrinated into this culture, show them. If you say critical things about your appearance or other’s appearance you are promoting this appearance-driven culture. Instead, let’s look at our hearts and gifts. Ephesians 2: 10 reads “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Need tips to encourage your daughter? Read “Eight Tips To Encouraging Girls To Be All That They Can Be.“)
If you are either, you need to be RADICALLY aware of where your money goes. The thigh gap is something that has been BOUGHT into. Our economy is driven by supply and demand. If we stop buying the magazines and watching the tv shows, the creators of these products are forced to create products that we will pay for.
One of the most startling things about the thigh gap phenomena is that it is not the newest trend. It continues to get buzz, but an even newer trend is called “bikini bridge.” A bikini bridge is supposed to be a physical feature exaggerated through the angle a picture is taken of a woman’s midsection between her bottom ribs and her hip bones. The ideal bikini bridge is of a sunken midsection highlighted by pronounced ribs and hip bones. Sadly, most of these pictures are taken by the women themselves, in order to create this angle. Professional photographers are not promoting this as much as “selfies” are.
If we do not stop the criticisms of ourselves and of others, encourage others, and stop buying into this culture, there are going to be more attempts at thigh gaps, bikini bridges, and the newest trend that is added among them. What you say, what you do, and what you buy speaks the loudest.