The “Thigh Gap”: A Dangerous Obsession of Many Young Women

Recently, a new fad diet – the Thigh Gap – has bombarded social media channels. Between seeing pictures on Instagram of too-skinny legs – you can see them using the hashtag #thighgap – to hearing my younger cousins complain that their thigh gap “isn’t big enough,” this trend has become an obsession for many young women.
For those of you wondering what this new buzz word is all about, a thigh gap is the space between a woman’s thighs when she is standing with both feet and knees together. This craze has caused young females nationwide to obsess over the thigh gap, even if that means extreme and unhealthy dieting.

The Thigh Gap Hack, a book dedicated solely to helping young women achieve thigh gaps, promotes tactics such as “hunger training.” With claims to provide “advanced techniques that’ll melt inner thigh fat and shrink bulky thigh muscles in as little as 30 days,” The Thigh Gap Hack pressures readers to believe that women with muscle are not attractive. In fact, this book provides instructions on how to reduce muscular thighs in order to achieve a larger thigh gap.

In large part to social media and the never-ending barrage of photos showcasing model’s thigh gaps, this type of body image has become a goal of many young women. Despite the potential negative impact on both self-esteem and health, achieving the “ideal” thigh gap is a growing obsession.

I find this recent trend extremely disturbing. My legs are strong and toned. Does that make me any less beautiful? I certainly do not believe so; quite the opposite, actually.
An unhealthy obsession like the thigh gap might have derailed my younger self. Would I have caved to the pressure of pop culture, trying to create an image idolized by someone else? Could I have done the things I’ve done – played competitive soccer, traveled the world, run half-marathons – if I had starved myself – physically and emotionally – to achieve a look someone else decided was pleasing?

I have never – and will never – conform to this “ideal.” Instead of focusing more attention to this unhealthy obsession, my focus will continue to become fit, healthy and strong. It’s a path I’ll continue to walk – with my strong, toned legs.
Kristin Pulling is the TLS Product Manager for Market America|SHOP.COM.