Home CommentaryStudent Life Feet together, thighs apart: how the fashion industry tells us one thing but our bodies say another

Feet together, thighs apart: how the fashion industry tells us one thing but our bodies say another

by Olivia Latta November 19, 2013
Feet together, thighs apart: how the fashion industry tells us one thing but our bodies say another

Ladies, stand yourself in front on a mirror, place your feet together and check, is there a gap between your thighs. No? That’s a good thing.

This trend affects more than just runway models but girls and women of all shapes and sizes. Photo from LB&RobertoSena on Flickr.

And still, the “thigh gap” trend continues to take over. Thigh gap, being the new standard amongst young women as to whether their bodies are skinny enough. What this term means is that, from knee up, there should be no part of your legs in which your thighs touch.

It’s no secret that girls and women alike are constantly being pressured to fit certain beauty norms, and are under constant scrutiny by themselves and others on their physical appearance.

The thing about the thigh gap is that it can be biologically natural for some women, and biologically unachievable for others. Women’s Health Magazine recently released an article on why a women should not strive for the thigh gap. Dr. Vonda Wright stated in the article: “Very few women have a large gap between their thighs. Thigh gaps really only happen through genetics—but even if you have wide hips, your legs can still touch if you have a lot of muscle.” In the article, Claire Mysko, a spokesperson for the National Eating Disorder Association supported this view by saying, “most women cannot achieve this look without extreme dieting or sometimes a full-blown eating disorder.”

The measure of skinny is questionable in the fashion industry. Most recently, the CEO’s of Lululemon and Abercrombie & Fitch have come out addressing their beliefs on the types of bodies that should fit into their clothing.

In an interview with Salon Magazine Abercrombie & Fitch’s CEO, Mike Jeffries, openly spoke about the type of people that should be wearing his clothing. “We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends.”  “A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong.”

Lululemon CEO Chip Wilson recently felt the wrath of women after he said that some women’s bodies “just don’t work” in the company’s yoga pants. “It’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there, and over a period of time how much they use it,” said Wilson when trying to explain the sheer pants problem.

“There is muscle in the thigh that helps us run, walk, stay upright,” said Concordia Health Promotion Specialist Gabrielle Szabo. “Having a gap between your thighs is in no way a measure of or direct correlation to how healthy a woman’s body is.”

“If you are healthy and active and also happen to have a thigh gap, it is about as correlated as being healthy and active and having brown hair or freckles when I run outdoors my freckles come out; this has no correlation to my health; it’s just what my body happens to do,” explained Szabo.

Though this phenomenon has been sweeping sites like Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter under the category of ‘Thinspirations,’ Szabo feels that many women out there are smart enough to see that a thigh gap may not in fact be something they need to aspire to.

“Women are smart, and when they use their critical thinking skills, many women may quickly come to the conclusion that this is a silly thing that does not warrant their attention or concern,” said Szabo.

Robyn Lawley, an Australian plus size model, recently spoke to the concept of the thigh gap and how she believes it is no way a measure of women’s health during an interview on Ellen: “I can’t be skinny, that’s just my bone structure, I’m more about finding your set natural weight and just being happy at that weight.”

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