The Exercist: Mind the (Thigh) Gap

The following question and response is from an interesting website The Exercist, which is a site focusing on health and body positivity, and strives to myth bust within the fitness community……….

Question from a teenage girl:

Why is a thigh gap attractive? Why is being sickly skinny hot? What is wrong with society, making every one of us teenage girls think that to be beautiful, we must starve ourselves. Some of us aren’t even built to have a god damn thigh gap or have our ribs poking out.

What happened to hot women with curves, not angles?

Please remember that a woman can have a thigh gap without starving herself or being “sickly.” Everyone is built differently – Some people are healthy at a lower weight with wide set hips, while others are healthy at a higher weight with narrow set hips. There is no reason to insult or demean one body type in order to praise another.

There are certainly a lot of problems with the way that society currently promotes one “ideal” body type for women, forcing many people to hurt themselves in an effort to attain that form of beauty. But when preaching for body acceptance and body positive thinking, it’s important to remember that the “ideal” isn’t just a mystical concept – Some people look like that and that’s cool too.

Women can have curves, angles and everything in between.

I fully understand that people can be perfectly healthy and have a thigh gap… Or “sickly skinny”.

But my point is to be happy with WHO YOU ARE.
Not to feel pressured into being skinny or unhealthy. Or a thigh gap.

That’s an awesome mentality to take on – Being happy with who you are is a huge step forward in self-love.

Just be careful with the sort of language that you use – When discussing different body types, it’s important not to associate negative terms and descriptions with certain characteristics. Inherently linking “sickly” with “skinny” is a problem, for example, as is making unfavorable implications about “angles” and “ribs poking out.” Keep in mind that these are not necessarily bad things.

It’s the idealization of thinness that presents a problem, not the body types and physical characteristics themselves.

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