Last summer, my best friend and I went to the beach for a bonfire with a few other high school pals. What dominated our conversations there, and even in class, was the then-budding trend of thigh gaps. Do you have a thigh gap? and Wow, I'm so jealous of your thigh gap! were things oft times heard and said within my friend circle. I am even guilty of proudly stating that I had a thigh gap. We were all just high school girls admiring the newest beauty trend featured in celebrity gossip columns and fashion magazines. Interestingly enough, many of my friends did not follow these media channels. Much of what they gathered about thigh gaps probably came from comments on Facebook and Instagram. These pictures of young women baring it all to advertise to the world that they indeed had thigh gaps were met with positive feedback.
Half a year later, I reflect on my attitude towards body trends like the thigh gap. The first thought that comes to mind as a college student who previously had a thigh gap is, If you are trying to get a thigh gap in college your freshman year, you might as well throw that idea out the window. Thanks to a 24/7 access to food, I've been indulging in all the wonders dining halls have to offer, aka pizza and cereal. Of course, I do not suggest this diet for healthy living. I'd like to serve as a representative of women who do not have thigh gaps by saying that I do not have a thigh gap and -- shocker -- I'm still alive. Even more than alive, I am happy with my body.
It is frustrating that as soon as one harmful body trend fades, another one appears. I can only imagine that for many in industries that promote them, it must feel like constant setback. The newest fad appears to be the bikini bridge, a discernible protrusion of the hipbone. The rapid spread of pictures featuring the bikini bridge could be a hoax, but it is also a dangerous precursor to a new body hype that might amass a large following group. It could be the new "thigh gap." Already, there are over one million Instagram photos dedicated to hashtags such as, "thin," "skinnyispretty," "skinnybitch," and "skinnyplease." The social community does not need any more "thigh gaps."
Beauty trends are born from the allure of having something others do not. Thigh gaps and bikini bridges are limited edition handbags that not everyone can afford. Literally. Many do not have the physical capacity to support unhealthy weight loss or a costly surgery. The fact that women must slim down to feel or appear beautiful is a testament to the negative impact the media has on personal health and appearance. Those who can escape media influence are yet still victimized because beauty crazes trickle down through close ones who are affected by them.
How ridiculous does it sound to boast what is thought of as a lucrative physical body part, when in fact no part of anyone's body makes up a thigh gap or bikini bridge. Both are simply an absence of body that many women now worship. In retrospect, I'd tell myself and my friend at the beach that day to stop taking pictures of ourselves and our unintentional thigh gaps. I'd tell both of us to appreciate our bodies in a way that we would not feel the need for self-gratification through photo likes. Because the less time you spend micromanaging your beauty, the more time you have to enjoy the beach.