The Myth of the Thigh Gap

I’ve seen a few articles floating around the news that the “thigh gap” has become the new standard of thinness and beauty in young women in the United States (and maybe even abroad). A thigh gap is a space between the inner thighs that girls and women are apparently dieting & exercising to achieve.

Sure, celebrities all look like they have magically skinny legs, but that’s thanks to careful posing and retouching.

I’ll admit that when I was younger, I wished I had the coveted thigh gap. As an hourglass/pear-shaped gal, I can’t remember ever having a thigh gap. My thighs have always touched.

Carolyn and Yoga Mat

People without a thigh gap can (gasp) do yoga

I played soccer from fourth grade until college, coached soccer in college, and now play rec league soccer in my adulthood. I remember older players on my AYSO teams talking about soccer girls having “thunder thighs” and “thick legs,” and I was confused whether I should want those traits or work to avoid them.

Once when staying with my best friend from high school, we were sitting in her computer room playing Tomb Raider, and she brought up that our mutual friend kept complaining that she was fat. I was a little confused as she obviously wasn’t. That’s when my best friend said, “I told her you’re only fat if your thighs touch.” The rest of that night I tried to avoid having my lack of “thigh gap” seen.

Triathlon Swim Portion

People without a thigh gap can (double gasp) compete in triathlons

I was constantly embarrassed of my legs in swim suits and wore those hideous boy short bikini bottoms (which, as a stroke of irony, only made my legs look bigger). I didn’t wear short shorts out in public (and still don’t). To this day, I’m still conscious about my legs, but if there’s one thing that “growing up” has shown me, it’s that the thigh gap isn’t that important in real life. And that you can be beautiful, pretty, sexy even without it.

There are plenty of other healthy, attractive people who don’t have the thigh gap. It’s not a sign of being fat or out of shape or ugly or whatever other negative connotation a simple lack of flesh can mean. I know plenty of runners, soccer players, CrossFitters, yogis, walkers, kickboxers, fitness instructors, etc, who don’t have the “thigh gap” and they are perfectly healthy and pretty fit.

thigh gap

Some people just don’t have the body structure for the thigh gap, (wide hips vs narrow hips) or their legs actually have meat on them for sprinting and lifting weights and carrying their bodies long distances and picking up their kids, etc. I’ve decided to stop feeling so self conscious about the stupid thigh gap. Viva les legs of all sizes and functions!

2 thoughts on “The Myth of the Thigh Gap

  1. woohoo finally i win at something! I have fat boobs and a big fat belly, but scrawy little legs sprouting out from under it haha. I guess my gap makes me thin? lol thats my new storey anyway.

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