Thigh Gap Obsession

So apparently there has been controversy over something called “thigh gap” and I’ve totally been out of the loop. I didn’t even really understand what it meant. I’ve seen it talked about in various places and now I kinda get it. I read this post, Thigh Gap Obsession – Not Again! , and learned even more.

‘Thigh Gap’: New Teen Body Obsession?

“A new body trend is apparently becoming an obsession among teenage girls. It’s the thigh gap — a clear space, or gap, that can be seen between the thighs when a girl is standing with her knees together. Some runway models have it, and teen girls want it.”

Oh…so that’s what it means. And it dawned on me that I’d been guilty of desiring the same thing without even knowing it. I don’t think this topic is solely for teenage girls. I think it’s relevant to anyone who is trying to lose weight or wishes their body type was just a little bit different.

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When I was obese, my thighs rubbed together. I sometimes had “chub rub” which could be incredibly painful. Basically my thighs just rubbed together and it made my skin red. Thankfully it never got infected or became truly horrible like some people have experienced.

I was always self-conscious about my thighs. They were my FIRST source of body image hatred. I distinctly remember being about nine years old and some mean girl on the playground called me “thunder thighs.” That was the birth of my body image issues. I didn’t have fat thighs, I wasn’t even a little overweight at 9 (not until I was in my late teens, really). And yet that comment stuck with me and made me self-conscious of my thighs forever after that. I also had a birthmark on my thigh that I was embarrassed about–which is weird because it’s tiny and hardly noticeable.

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While I was losing 100 pounds my body was transformed in front of me and while some things weren’t always noticeable, other things were very noticeable. The first thing I noticed after significant loss was that I had a collarbone and I could actually SEE it. It was crazy! I’d never really seen it–or my ribs for that matter. The other thing I noticed and loved was the fact that my thighs no longer rubbed together.

As my body shrank, I definitely became enamored with how great my legs looked. All of the running, cycling and swimming I did toned my legs nicely. I still admire my legs in the mirror often. I don’t think it’s vanity–I think it’s finally accepting and loving my body as it is and being proud of my hard work.

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This “thigh gap” is a ridiculous standard and it’s probably causing young girls (and adults I’m sure) to develop eating disorders in order to attain this weird beauty fad. Yet at the same time, it’s something I’ve noticed that I sometimes have and feel proud of. For me it is NOT about being skinny, it’s about having toned legs that are the reward of my vigorous work to be fit.

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I will never be “skinny” and long ago I came to terms with that. My body type is short, stocky, muscular–probably classified as “athletic”. I know that the skinny twig legs aren’t something I can attain, neither are they something I desire. But I understand the desire to see certain body parts change.

So as you can see, I have some mixed feelings about this. While I’ve noticed too-skinny women with legs that look like sticks and wondered if they were sick; I’ve also noticed really healthy looking women with toned legs that made me wonder if they were a runner! There’s a difference between unhealthy skinny obsession and healthy toned and athletic figures.

What do you think about this new obsession?

36 Responses

  1. I agree.. I’ve been really guilty of wanting a gap just so my pants will stop wearing out in the thighs so much and I can stop having hungry thighs when I wear shorts but I also agree that we shouldn’t hate our bodies if we don’t have a gap either. I have strong legs that are only getting stronger but somehow I am learning to be okay with that!
    K @ Finding a Skinnier me recently posted..Fight…

  2. I know the thigh gap is not a realistic thing for me to try and attain but I love joking about my chub rub! Most people deal it with it in different ways in all different sizes. I just think the whole thing is kind of funny with the thigh gap. I actually didn’t realize there were some people who had one until high school! Seeing my collar bones is still one of my favorite things about losing weight – second might be being able to wear a normal sized towel!
    Jodi @ Jodi Fat or Not recently posted..Monday Confessions

  3. A size 4? You’re so tiny! I’m still trying for an 8.

    But anyway, regarding this obsession. It’s not new!!! I’m in my early 40’s and I remember my sister and I obsessing about this when we were teenagers, and being disgusted in our bathing suits that are thighs met and we were thin!

    The truth is that it is RARE to find this naturally, I’ve been a size 2 as a teen and still had the little blips of fat between my thighs. Girls now are either seeing results of photoshop or liposuction, more than likely it’s liposuction.

    I really wish young girls (and women) would stop comparing themselves to others, it is SO damaging to our self-esteem. You can’t fight your genes, you have to do the best with what you have. And honestly – I bet if you ask any man if they find the inner thigh thing unattractive, they probably will say they’ve never noticed it. They don’t pay attention to the same things we do. They can be awesome like that.

    1. Depending on the brand of jeans I can be a size 6.

      I guess I’ve just been oblivious to this obsession! I only learned about it a week ago when I read that other post on it.

      I agree, I wish people would stop comparing their bodies to others. I am guilty of this as well. Especially when my knees are bothering me–I think “why can everyone else run and not have knee issues?” But everyone is different and I need to stop comparing.

  4. As a short girl, I can guarantee that I would never achieve this at any weight. Even at my thinnest, fittest there was no way I would have a gap. My hips are not wide enough in relation to my height. It would be physically impossible, and it makes me sad that women waste their time worrying about this. How about spending that time trying to end world hunger or cure cancer. There are way more worthwhile subjects to worry about. I’m pretty sure Jane Goodall never worried about whether her thighs touched.

    1. Yes, sometimes it’s just not a valid goal. Genetics aren’t always fair!

      “I’m pretty sure Jane Goodall never worried about whether her thighs touched.” <--- I love this!!

  5. It’s funny how remarks made when we are young can have such an enormous impact on our self-worth. My brothers used to call me fatty fatty two-by-four and that’s how I felt. I grew very fast. I went from 4’10” to 5’8″ in three years. At 14, I was 5’8″ and 110 lbs. I’m sure I had the thigh gap but I felt huge. I also had stretch marks on my thighs, hips and knees. The ones on my knees are the worst and I still get asked how I got the scars on my knees.
    Joyful Susan recently posted..My Siblings Are All In . . . Sort Of

    1. That’s awful. Have your brothers ever acknowledge as adults that those comments weren’t the nicest? I’m just curious.

      Good point on the stretch marks. I had those too and it was embarrassing. I’m still embarrassed by them sometimes.

  6. I don’t think it’s a new thing, though I wonder why it is getting more attention now. Will have to read the original article you reference. VS catalogs are always fun to look at for examples of terrible photoshopping and awkward and unnatural poses. For example, the bathing suit bottom pictures you posted. Just TRY to get in *that* ridiculous of a position so that you don’t appear to have butt cheeks.
    Amanda recently posted..Chesebro Half Marathon Recap

  7. I’m not surprised to hear about this obsession, but like so many of your other commenters have mentioned, it’s a physical impossibility for so many women. It’s like wishing you were born a different race or with different colored eyes. Or being jealous of someone for having a certain shoe size or being taller than you. There are so many things about our appearances that we have no control over and for the very small percentage of women out there who have the genetics to have a gap, they probably are sitting around wishing they (fill in the blank) were richer, taller, shorter, had a boyfriend/husband that treated them better, etc.

    I used to get insanely jealous of the ladies on the fitness DVDs I did. Then one day the thought occurred to me that while they were thin and looked great physically, they may have had other issues in their life that I didn’t struggle with. It seems we all struggle with something. So, why compare yourself to others for anything at all? Physical appearance included.

    I know what it’s like to be a teen girl and think that if I just had this gap, I would have tons of friends, a cute boyfriend, popularity or whatever. When in actuality, you’d be the exact same person you are now, just with a gap between your thighs and your same set of issues and problems you had before…

    Great post!
    Jill @ a Girl in Progress recently posted..Goals

    1. Glad you enjoyed this post, Jill and thanks for your input. Maybe if we DO look at our body sizes as akin to race and eye color, etc, we’ll stop comparing ourselves so much?

        1. I DO admit to wishing I was a little taller. But only because clothes look weird on me! I’m short and my legs are short which makes a lot of pants/dresses and skirts look odd.

  8. I remember wanting that inner thigh gap when I was in high school and college. It’s too bad that I spent time worrying about it, when for some people, it’s just not physically possible. And it certainly doesn’t go hand-in-hand with health–which is so much more important. It bothers me so much, how the media can be so influential and deceiving, for both ourselves and the kids. I guess the best we can do is be great role models!! 🙂
    Michelle @ Eat Move Balance recently posted..Peanut Chickpea Lettuce Wraps

    1. Oh yes, I very much doubt that the gap has anything to do with health. I’d much rather have strong, muscular thighs than twigs. You see it lot with guy bodybuilders–they have humongous upper bodies but little stick legs. It looks odd. Balance is better!

  9. This makes me sad. Sigh. There is always some body part in the spotlight, to lead many girls and women to feel crap about themselves. It’s a shame there will likely never be body acceptance….we will always have unrealistic images paraded in front of us and told us that they are “ideal”.
    Roz@weightingfor50 recently posted..Sunday with Princesses

    1. I hate what society says is “ideal” now. The duck lips. The fake boobs. The orange fake-tan. Gross! I don’t want to look like Real Housewives of Whatever.

  10. Thigh gap is NOT sexy. It’s sickly. It’s accompanied by a lack of hips,ass and curves. Women should be curvy. The hourglass figure shows no thigh gap. Only twigs can show that.

    It’s sad that this is considered a standard of beauty. I want none of it. I’ll take a curvy woman over an anorexic runway model any day.

    Cheers!
    Trevor recently posted..The Best Bread Rises Slowly

  11. Is this really a new obsession? Maybe because teens are thinking about it these days, it’s new in that realm. I remember years ago when I actually had a television in our house (and that was my roommate’s!), Oprah spoke of the gap between thighs being the mark of an ideal body. Now that I think about it, the fact that I still remember that comment means it must have had an impact on me. And I have often looked at myself in the mirror, in various angles, trying to find that elusive gap.

    It’s not an ideal to look at. I think what you describe as having toned legs and being proud of them after achieving a near-impossible feat as yours of losing over 100 pounds, is the kind of ideal we should be trying to achieve – our own, ideal body shape, based on our own hard work and sweat.

    I LOVE that pink sequined dress, Lisa!
    I ❤ 2 Eat recently posted..Airborne

    1. That’s a shame that Oprah talked about it, but then I guess there was a long time where she tried every diet fad out there…

      Isn’t that pink dress fabulous!! Wish I could wear it somewhere other than Vegas!!

  12. I’ll be honest, I’ve never seen the appeal in a thigh gap. To me the women appear to look more like lanky 12 year old girls than women. (Ugh, but I’m NOT dissing women who naturally have a thigh gap, I just don’t see why so many women want it!)
    Daphne @ Daphne Alive recently posted..Easter weekend

  13. I dislike my thighs, even after losing 45lb. I’m guilty of wanting the thigh gap, but I have accepted the fact that it will never happen. I don’t want to, or need to, lose any more weight so I think my chunky thighs are here to stay. I try to accept them and be grateful for all the do for me! Couldn’t run or squat my body weight without them!

    1. I’ll admit, there are definitely times I dislike my thighs–even now. It depends. It doesn’t happen often but sometimes those feelings come back.

      YES!!! Big strong thighs = ability to run, hike and all other things!

  14. I was super thin for a period of my life and my thighs were TINY…but now that I’m less tiny but more fit, they are bigger and honestly…I think it would be near impossible to run and exercise and not have larger but more muscular thighs. ANd I’m not sure I’d want it any other way.
    Joanne recently posted..Recipe: Two-Potato Vindaloo

  15. Lisa, I loved how confident you are with your body type. I’m quite the combo and I really hated my unwanted baggage going directly into my legs. But enough of the complaining I’m currently doing reverse jacks from http://www.enhancementscosmeticsurgery.com/target-acquired-toning-thighs/ along with fire hydrant and it’s really tedious but at the same time rewarding. I’m not really aiming for a slim stick-like legs. I only wanted toned thighs that I can perfectly flaunt with my size up dark shorts. And seriously loving my routine made me a better person. I’m now more confident and discipline even with my eating portions.

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