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Want a leg up on being beautiful? It’s all about the thigh (gaps)

By February 19, 2013 10 Comments

I’m sorry, but did you know that there are Tumblr pages dedicated to praising thigh gaps? That’s right, I’m taking about sites that catalog and pay homage to photos of women whose legs do not touch above the knees.

Images of Victoria

A clearly Photoshopped “thigh gap” in Victoria’s Secret catalog.

And it doesn’t end there.

On Twitter, “#ThighGap” is often listed with other problematic tags like “#soclosetoperfection” and “#hipbones.” Oh, and people have created handles like @CarasThighGap, where they tweet about stuff like thigh gaps, and include twitpics of thigh gaps.

Body image experts have been documenting for years now just how damaging these images are to girls and women—and as a result, there’s been some real progress and resistance (Huzzah to Julia Bluhm, the 14-year old who took on Seventeen!).

But then stuff like this shows up in a Victoria’s Secret catalog, and you realize that in some office in New York or Los Angeles, there’s a team of folks (some of them likely women) Photoshopping away women’s thighs, thereby making others feel inadequate.

I take issue with this thigh gap seen on the cover. I do not believe it is real, nor that it makes Beyonce sexier—or more worthy, or more desirable, or more valuable.

Another recent infraction? Beyoncé on the cover of GQ. Start by taking a look at the photos from inside the magazine, which show a sassy, sexy Queen B, who’s lost the baby weight but still has famous curves.

Then, check out the cover.

Like every other permutation of female body snarking, this one makes me want to beg girls and women to go easy on themselves. To be at peace with their bodies.

I want women and girls to spend their glorious energy, time, and money on pursuits other than hating themselves to death and transforming their flesh into what it’s not.

And in truth, I get tired of pointing out the infinite, egregious examples of how the media contribute to our perverted ideals.

Maybe all this is just another example of culture-makers telling us what we should aspire to. And maybe achieving thigh gaps in real life does put you on the right side of today’s beauty ideals. But a trend that defines women by what is—or isn’t—between their legs?

No.

Just no.