There’s been a lot of discussion in the past few days about Essena O”Neill, the Australian Instagram star and her comments about how young women portray themselves on social media and what that really does for their sense of self. We at She’s Fit to Lead think this is an extremely important issue because it goes right to the heart of what we are all about, networking confidence. So, today, instead of our usual Wednesday Fit List feature, we want to share with you this reflection by contributing writer and University of Maryland Campus Ambassador, Stefanie Sabar:
If you are an active user of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or any other social media site that involved hashtags, then you probably are familiar with the trending hashtag, #teamthighgap. #TeamThighGap has existed for quite some time now, and most users include it in posts that contain pictures of their bodies, instructions to get fit, or my personal favorite, to mock and make fun of the entire message. The hashtag represents a message that is pretty self explanatory -promoting the presence of a gap between one’s two thighs. Honestly, I think this is utterly disgusting, and the fact that people are encouraging an unrealistic ideal for women is unfair.
A thigh gap is not necessarily something all women aspire too. A lot of men like curves and find them attractive. However, women are now starting to feel this social pressure to get a thigh gap, even if doing so means losing their curves and what I think is the essence of their womanhood. Women should take pride in their curves. They are what make us real women! This doesn’t mean that a woman who naturally has a thigh gap should feel like any less of a woman. The key word here is naturally. Some women do have a gap between their thighs, and that’s okay. They naturally attain that type of body and should embrace it. What I’m finding hard to grasp is how people who naturally don’t have thigh gaps feel pressured to have one and why that is what’s being promoted through today’s model size, social media, and pictures in magazines. Your beauty is not defined by a gap between your legs. Beauty is found in SO many other ways, and it’s sad how people are preaching otherwise by using #teamthighgap.
Do you remember the model from Target’s swimsuit section? The ad created such commotion because her body was so clearly edited. Target edited this model’s body to such an unrealistic point just so she had a thigh gap. I guarantee that this model naturally has one but since thigh gaps are so encouraged these days, the editors at Target felt the need to make it more apparent. However, it’s comical because they ended up completely distorting this model’s body, and I genuinely feel bad for her. Obviously, model photos are edited all the time, which is another subject I would like to discuss, but her body was edited more so than ever. It probably made her feel that her thigh gap wasn’t big enough! But, HELLO?! She’s perfect just the way she is!
Ashley Graham, plus size model and body activist, embraces her curves and beauty in a healthy way. She is an amazing role model for girls of all sizes, because she loves herself for who she is, and doesn’t care about what’s trending or what other people define as beautiful. In fact, she said something about #teamthighgap that has stayed with me since the day I saw it. Having thick thighs is sexy. Having thighs that don’t touch is also sexy, but only if naturally attained, and they are just part of the body you’re supposed to have.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not dissing those women out there who do have thigh gaps. Some women just naturally have thin legs that don’t touch and that doesn’t mean they’re any less sexy. I just hate how the girls who don’t naturally have thigh gaps feel pressured to have to have one to define how skinny or fit they are. You can be fit and thin but not have a thigh gap. I know plenty of girls who do. I also know plenty of girls who aren’t thin and fit, but have a thigh gap. Everyone’s body is different, and no one should have to feel like they must change the way they look just to conform to some unrealistic ideal. So, I for one am #TeamNoThighGap! Are you with me?