ABC News recently reported a rising trend among teenage girls called the “thigh gap”. This refers to a girl’s thighs not touching when she’s standing with her feet and knees together, similar to the picture below.
The girls in the interview with ABC News mention something that only motivates me to continue driving Girls In Real Life forward: the obsession with having a gap between your thighs is not to impress boys or to get people to be attracted to you. Rather, the thigh gap trend has emerged as competition between girls, and as a way of measuring one’s own sense of self-worth and value. When explaining this trend to my brother, he didn’t even understand what I was saying until I showed him a picture, and afterwards said thighs touching is not something that has ever crossed his mind as a measure of beauty and attractiveness, and I know he’s not the only boy to think that way.
Victoria’s Secret, which is responsible for 15% of lingerie industry and 20% of the bra industry in the United States, is continuing this obsession with being stick-thin. According to recent statistics, in order to qualify for a modeling position at Victoria’s Secret a woman needs to be at least 5’8″. The average Victoria’s Secret model weighs 112 pounds. The world standard for measuring maintaining a healthy weight is the Body Mass Index, or BMI, which uses calculations based off of weight and height. BMI for a normal, healthy weight is between 18.5-24.9. Anything above 24.9 is considered overweight, and anything under 18.5 is malnourished. The average Victoria’s Secret model, at 112 pounds and 5’8″, has a BMI of 17, making them eligible for admission into an eating disorder unit. In fact, their BMI of 17 is only .2 points higher than my BMI at my lowest weight during my own eating disorder.
Victoria’s Secret and other modeling agencies are fueling our definitions of health, beauty, and attraction to mean having flat stomachs, toned arms, big boobs, and thighs that don’t touch. This mindset is even further encouraged by friendships between girls, which is why I began this organization in the first place. What are some enforceable, important actions we should be taking to prevent the thigh gap trend (or any other similar trend) from taking over the thoughts and actions of girls?
How do we get girls to focus on each others’ skills, abilities, and talents rather than the width of their thighs and the measurements of their waist?