Why ‘Thigh Gap’ is Absolute Crap

thigh gap

“Thinspiration” is taking the world by storm. Women obsessing about the way they look and comparing themselves to an unrealistic ideal is nothing new. But, with social media, the conversation has reached epic proportions, with images at every turn to magnify your imperfections.

A quick Google search for “thigh gap” will get you caught up in this phenomenon. How, in a world where such a thing as thigh gap exists, can we bring up our children to love rather than hate  their bodies?

What’s Thigh Gap, You Ask?

It’s the space between your upper-mid thigh (right below your lady parts) when your feet are together. And, you guessed it, apparently the bigger the gap the more “desirable” you are. Or at least that is what the modeling world has used for years to separate the haves from the have-nots.

Negative thinspiration such as thigh gap makes me want to hide my child from the world, throw away the TV and computer, and not allow one magazine to enter the house for fear of her losing her innocence. She loves running around the house naked and tells me how beautiful she is! When, then, does that change occur?

It’s a Genetic Phenomenon

On The Doctors, Dr. Travis Stork proved that thigh gaps are a genetic phenomenon based on bone structure. So a million reps on the inner thigh machine, combined with a seven-day cleanse followed by swearing off carbs, gluten, fat and sugar will not help you get thigh gap! You’ll just end up exhausted, annoyed, deflated and probably grouchy… what’s the point? We know it’s science. But women still want it!

A high paid, sought after “plus-sized model” (that term is relative considering she’s a size 12) has become the target of the thigh gap conversation after a photo of her wearing a corset appeared on Facebook. She wrote a thoughtful post for the Daily Beast against all the negative Nellies who chimed in on her picture.

I pose this question to you: Should it even matter what we look like on the outside, as long as we are healthy?

Enjoy Eating at What Cost?

As someone who cheered competitively and was considered the “big” girl at 104 pounds, I entered adulthood with a seriously warped body image and really unhealthy relationship with food and exercise. I discovered I liked eating after cheerleading, but then began exercising obsessively to combat the calories I was consuming.

The exercise obsession turned into a career. I became a group fitness instructor and was now armed with a microphone allowing me to spew the misconception that exercise was about looking good and fitting in your skinny jeans. I realize now how wrong that was.

The Message Must Change

Exercise is about feeling good. Eating is good for you. Taking time to relax and rejuvenate is a must. When it’s all said and done, there’s no prize for the person who worked out the hardest or ate the least.

As long as women feel it’s okay to judge others for what they look like, how hard they work out, what they consume, or where their priorities lie when it comes to working out, we have a big problem.

Do I still struggle to see the person I am on the inside when I catch a sideways glance in a mirror under bad lighting?

Do I still worry about what people will think when they pop in my latest exercise DVD or see me up close and personal during a fitness conference on stage in my spandex?

Yes, I do. Should I? Hell no. I am a work in progress.

Bottom line. My self worth should not and will not be determined by the amount of friction, or lack there of, between my thighs.

My thighs take me places: on long bike rides, up mountains, around corners, through Target, to the playground and back, up stairs, and through life. I thank my thighs and hope that every day of my life they grow stronger to keep up with all I want to do.

Perhaps we should replace those negative thinspiration images with this inspirational poster from Nike. It hangs on my wall, maybe you should put it on yours?

What do you think about thigh gap and thinspo?

Share your opinions in the comments below!

Image credits: fervent-adepte-de-la-mode | The Daily BeastNike

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Shannon Fable, 2013 IDEA and 2006 ACE Instructor of the Year, is the VP of Fitness Programming for the FIT4MOM® franchise. For more than two decades, she has helped impressive brands such as Anytime Fitness, Schwinn®, Power Systems, ACE, Silver Sneakers, and BOSU® as a fitness business and programming consultant. An experienced educator, freelance writer, and certified Book Yourself Solid® Business Coach, she helps fitness entrepreneurs navigate the industry and make more money. Fable serves as Vice Chair of the ACE Board of Directors and is the founder and co-owner of GroupEx PRO®, a cloud-based group fitness management tool.