I have to admit I was on the fence about this post. On one hand, I’m not a fan of drawing more attention to things I don’t believe deserve the attention. On the other hand, I want to include an actual stance from the perspective of a woman who has gone through the pitfalls of the modeling industry and through the struggles of an eating disorder for 11 years. I stumbled on this video while reading The Great Fitness Experiment, where Charlotte promptly warned her readers of her non-responsibility for rage induced aneurysms due to watching the video. Once again, I hesitated for a bit before pressing the play button. I guess that’s the definition of successful marketing, the engagement of an audience through controversy.
If I didn’t read about the video’s message of trying to ‘diffuse’ the controversial obsession over thigh gaps, I would’ve been convinced that this video was made by a pro-eating disorder community. It really romanticizes the thigh gap with its soft lighting and slow motion focus on the pelvic area. Well, there’s really not much else there..just the back/front views of upper thighs. It’s a shame because they cast some very beautiful models (Gigi Hadid, Chanel Iman, Alyssa Miller, and Elsa Hosk).
Now there’s nothing inherently wrong with the thigh gap. It’s really a force of nature whether you have one or not. And no, not a force of diet/exercise type of nature- if you don’t have it, going to extremes to get it will be the opposite of force of nature. Social media be damned though- thigh gaps have been popping up all over the place on Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook as the next level of beauty over the past several years. I have no idea why it became a ‘thing’. It’s such a thing now that individual cosmetic procedures are popping up all over the map offering inner thigh slimming surgeries! From a personal point of view, it became a ‘thing’ for me about 11 years ago when I noticed that the other models have it. In short, I was convinced it would make me look like a more professional model. Plus, there has always been talk about long, toned legs, and legs obviously don’t stop at the knee. Long and toned refers to everything. And surprise, surprise, this video is all about using long, toned, mother nature gifted models to feature the, what is it now? ‘Magic Gap’? Please, let’s never utter that phrase again.
11 years ago there wasn’t as much regulation on forums and on social media site for phrases such as ‘thinspiration’ ‘proana’ and the like. The incessant use of thigh gap pictures coupled with those phrases sparked a fire of pro-eating disorder communities. Fasting became the norm, and everyone’s goal was to get to a magic number that would produce the gap. I became one of those girls. I got the thigh gap after several months of ‘strict determination’, aka, deathly low calorie consumption, I won’t list it here because it needs no mention. I don’t think I need to tell you that I’m not built for thigh gaps. I’m naturally thin and fairly fit now, but my thighs still touch (hello my dear unique pelvic shape!). Yet, I had a thigh gap then, at a double digit weight, standing at 5’8″ (I don’t know my weight now since I threw out my scales and refuse to let the number rule me anymore). Yes, I was close to death. No, I didn’t realize it. Yes, I had my precious thigh gap.
It’s no surprise that I had a mini-rage aneurysm per Charlotte’s warning. What I see in the video is simply an extension of the glorification I fully experienced when I was younger. While there a lot of people fly by and don’t get influenced by this portrayal of the body (yay!), there are also a lot that stop, look, and feel a sense of shame. Then, there is a subset that saves that video and uses it as inspiration to ‘work harder’ at getting that supposed ‘beauty’. I understand it’s a simple artistic video, although that’s really questionable in itself. But if a simple artistic video can simply contribute to the death of a few girls (anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, more people die from it per year ~150k than from breast cancer ~40k), then it’s not really worth the artistic value. You might as well strike a deal with the devil. Ok, maybe that’s a little harsh, you get the idea though.
Watch it, don’t watch it, that’s all up to you. If you feel this is something that might influence your own diet and behavior, skip it. If you can remain neutral toward your own body (who cares how you feel about the video, it’s YOU that counts) then by all means, the choice is yours. Models are models for a reason. And just because the models featured here have a different pelvic structure, it doesn’t mean that all models do. And it doesn’t mean that you have to! If you do, you might be an ectomorph. I’m a mesomorph. Simple as that. Healthy food choices and exercise are there to assist your body shape, not change it. Be proud of your body, you only have it for a limited time, take care of it! Same goes for body shaming. I’m a pretty boyish, straight figure. I absolutely love curvy bodies! But, there is no way I’d want to ‘enhance’ my body to get shapelier. In the same vein, I wouldn’t want someone who’s curvier to resort to ridiculous tactics to lose her curves. Encourage your fellow body patrons to be their best beautiful selves. Don’t criticize other’s bodies. They’re just doing what they’re naturally meant to do, housing a personality that shines!