There’s this thing called the “thigh gap” that women are supposed to have if they want to be sexy. It’s a marker of thinness (supposedly), because it indicates that a woman’s legs are lean enough so that no flesh touches when you stand with your feet together. And you really really really want your legs to be that lean, because skinny is better, remember?
First of all, this “thigh gap” nonsense is borne out of fitspo images (fitspo: “fitness” + “inspiration”). Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t put
much any stock in sources that glamorize eating disorders and physiologically unhealthy standards. For many women, “thigh gap” is associated as a marker of having attained some kind of “ideal” state of thinness. See also: collarbones, hip bones, ribs, and all other manner of protruding bones. These kinds of “milestones” feed the frenzy of unrealistic body standards that the media – and, yes, even fitness culture – sets for us. Idolizing these markers of thinness is self-sabotage…don’t buy into the “plus-sized lies.”
Then there’s the fact that thigh-gappage is primarily determined by your bone structure. Particularly, the size, setting, and angle of your hips, and the natural angle/ROM of your pelvic girdle and femurs. (See THIS post for more detail on how this comes into play.) For a small minority of women, their genetics give them a hip structure that will debut a “thigh gap” even when they are carrying extra weight. Other women have such a hip structure that even at an unhealthily low bodyweight, their thighs would touch (no “gap”). Most women’s hip structure leans far more towards the latter. If you think you can change your bone structure…well, good luck with that.
What’s more is the fact that even if you can force your body into such an emaciated state that your thighs don’t touch, you do so at the risk of your present and future health. The female body will naturally attempt to preserve healthy levels of body fat (what constitutes “healthy” ranges roughly from 15-24%, depending on factors like age, genetics, etc, not to mention who you ask). It’s necessary for little things like hormones, cell integrity, and, you know, reproduction…and, regardless of your family planning preferences, fertility is a crucial marker of health. This is why, if you are ardently pursuing that elusive “thigh gap,” you will most likely have a hell of a time getting rid of all the fat stored on your inner thighs. Maintaining body fat this low can cause significant health problems and put your future fertility at risk. It’s your choice if you want to manipulate your body to an unnaturally low level of body fat to just to keep your thighs from touching, but it’s a risky one.
Chasing a thigh gap means bowing to a ridiculous aesthetic ideal, battling your unique bone structure, and potentially doing significant (and lasting) damage to your body. If that sounds like a good plan, go for it. If it doesn’t, then stop giving a damn about it. Embrace your womanly shape, whatever that may look like. Appreciate your quads of glory (whatever size and shape they may be) that enable you to squat, run, deadlift, jump, kick, dance, bend, and twerk. Thank God for the fact that you have legs, and air in your lungs, and get on with living.
I’ll be over here admiring the fact that I can see my quads through my jeans. “Thigh gap”-free since 1990, and still going strong.
PPS…For what it’s worth, if you care about this kind of thing: Every guy I’ve asked (yes, I bring up things like “thigh gap” in everyday conversations. I’m that weirdo.) falls into one of two categories. Half of them are completely befuddled by the concept, and can’t even understand why the “thigh gap” trend exists. The other half (the guys that have heard of this “thigh gap” thing) thinks it is an asinine concept, and many of these gents say that they find it more attractive when a woman is curvy enough that she does not have a “thigh gap.” So, you know, take that for whatever it’s worth. (And if a guy ever has the audacity tells you that you would be more attractive with a “thigh gap,” please use your juicy thighs to give him a solid kick in the ‘nads. At least then he will have an empty space between his legs.)
***Edited to add:
I got some feedback on this post and wanted to clarify that while many women will not naturally have a “thigh gap” even at their healthiest weight, there are still a good number of women whose bone structure and body type predispose them to have a “thigh gap” at any weight. That kind of natural “thigh gap” is no more worth shame, embarrassment, or worry than a body that never has one. I never meant to imply that women who naturally have a “thigh gap” should feel unattractive or upset by it, much less try to get rid of it. Fighting your bone structure in attempt to alter your appearance is ludicrous no matter which side of the spectrum you fall on. The notion of one body type – and even a particular feature, at that – is ideal and should be pursued above all else is bullshit. Women (and men, too!) need to learn to embrace their own particular beauty. Whatever size and shape legs or body you have, appreciate it, keep it healthy, and get on with being your ridiculously sexy self.