Home Beauty Thigh Gaps: Dangerous Obsession, Healthy Perspective, and Learning (and Loving) Your Hips

Thigh Gaps: Dangerous Obsession, Healthy Perspective, and Learning (and Loving) Your Hips

by Erika Nicole Kendall

I was conflicted in writing this post, because I feel like writing about “thigh gaps”  and how to develop your own would make me seem, in some ways, pro-ana/anti-fat. I think, after over four years of writing on the web, that I should be given more credit than that. This essay will talk frankly about fat, anatomy and physiology, because any woman who actively pursues a “thigh gap” should be aware of how to do it healthily and what the downsides of doing it in an unhealthy fashion truly are. I believe in size acceptance in the sense that every body should have the right to choose what is best for their body, and should be supplied with as much information to help them adequately decide as possible. That is where I rest in the argument.

That being said, this essay might be triggering for some in terms of eating disorders, frank body talk, and what might sound like “picking apart” of the body. I strongly encourage you to do what’s best for you in the process.

If you scour the Internet looking for fitness and nutrition websites for long enough, you’ll run into the… ahem… “feet together, thighs apart” movement.

Look at a photograph of a fashion model – if her feet are together, her thighs are apart, thereby creating what’s known as the “thigh gap.”

Let me think backwards on this for a minute, though. One of the earliest milestones in my weight loss journey was the moment that my thighs didn’t feel like they were pillowing together when I walked. There was less fat at the knee, then at the quads (the front of the thigh), and then even less in my hamstrings (back of the thigh) where my thigh met my glutes (the booty!), and I was excited! Progress!

When it comes to training my legs, my goal was always to have muscular ones – it’d give me the thickness I was after, while also allowing me to be leaner. Besides, I wanted a little form and curve to my booty, and sculpting – not just shrinking – my thighs is essential to that.

And, really, I think it’s something that most people who lose excessive amounts of weight experience – that first moment of excitement when you can actually spread your feet, and your thighs actually stop touching. In fact, I can recognize it in people who share with me that they’ve lost a large amount of weight. I can see them standing differently, so as to make it look like they have an actual gap when they stand, which is a new experience.

The awkward thing about that, though, is that a thigh gap – and the actual biology and anatomy of the lower body that comes along with it, really – is something people are “praised” for, but know so very little about. Take, for instance, this article:

It’s the latest weight loss craze among American teens striving to emulate the models they see in magazines: the “thigh gap”, in which slender legs, when standing with feet together, do not touch.

Experts say the cost of what teens see as an ideal body shape — but really is for most unattainable — is self-esteem problems that can lead to eating disorders, depression and even suicide.

On Tumblr, Pinterest and Facebook, “thigh gap” photos abound: close-ups of sometimes unbearably skinny legs published by young girls eager to show off their success — or bemoan what they see as a failure to whittle away fat.

[…]

Another user, skinnysizezero, cheers her fellow dieters on, saying: “Together we can lose weight. Together we can be skinny.”

“Together we can be a size zero with a beautiful thigh gap and flat stomach. Together we can be happy and finally say that we love our bodies,” her post pledges.

[…]

Meanwhile, a user called “starving for perfection” complained about her “mediocre/nonexistent thigh gap” and flagellated herself for her “fatfatfatfat.”

Experts say the obsession with leg shape is not new, but has been dramatically amplified by social media websites and their 24/7 influence on the lives of American teens.

The fan Twitter account Cara’s Thigh Gap, is dedicated to the extreme slenderness of British model Cara Delevingne, while dozens of Facebook pages and websites propose diets and exercise regimes to achieve the almighty gap.

But clinical psychologist Barbara Greenberg warned that for most women, the “thigh gap” is a pipe dream, even via extreme dieting and exercise.

“Most women are not built that way to have that space between their thighs,” she said.

“It is a matter of bone structure,” she explained, which “the majority of women do not have.”

Uh, I kinda want to stop right here because I’m a little confused as to how “bone structure” plays into whether or not a woman – or man, for that matter – could develop a thigh gap.

It’s not about “bones” – your legs aren’t positioned so closely together on your hip bone that they’re touching, so no, it’s not about bones.

What it is about, however, is having no fat between the thighs – the one space where fat, according to theory, is absolutely most necessary – and no muscle, either. That’s what this is really about. These young girls want to be so thin that you don’t even look at them. You look past them. Through them. To the point where there’s nothing there. That argument, about bone structure, won’t fly with them, as long as they’re able to starve themselves to the point of absence. I mean, damn.

snapshot of the lower-half of the male muscular system from my "atlas of the human body" - mildly annoyed that I didn't have a female version of the muscular system on me, but short of the muscles that control the penis and testicles, the systems are practically identical. this guy here is pretty muscular, though, and not all bodies will have muscles this full.

snapshot of the lower-half of the male muscular system from my “atlas of the human body” – mildly annoyed that I didn’t have a female version of the muscular system on me, but short of the muscles that control the penis and testicles, the systems are practically identical. this guy here is pretty muscular, though, and not all bodies will have muscles this full.

That’s what makes “feet together, thighs apart” so problematic – they want nothing there to sustain that.

When teenage girls starve themselves, it’s not only bad because they’re not nourishing a growing body. It’s not only bad because they’re not fueling themselves to be focused in an intense learning environment. It’s not only bad because they can trigger things like early onset osteoporosis, or because it can make the skin suffer and the nails brittle and make your hair fall out. It’s also bad because they set themselves up for an adulthood of a limited metabolism, because starvation causes muscle to deteriorate.

Remember, muscle contributes positively to a higher metabolism – a pound of muscle burns two to three times as many calories per hour as a pound of fat – and losing ten of them in the process of starving yourself and subsisting on, say, orange juice and cotton balls (in other words, a strictly carb-based diet) is enough to leave you with a very low metabolism, and a lifetime of eating less than 1,000 calories in order to “stay skinny.”

We’re not even gonna talk about the stress it puts on your bones, and how that affects your ability to age well without injury. No muscle in the hip area? That’s the one place you want it. Aside from the reproductive organ protection, that also means no booty. Kiss your tush goodbye.

Can you undo that? Of course, but it’ll take years of training. And actual eating. And actual lifting and squatting and un-dainty man-like stuff. Or something. I don’t know… isn’t that how anti-muscle types think?

In other words, it takes a lot of the stuff that young girls and women are discouraged from actually doing in the first place. Eating healthily. Being happily active. Lifting weights. Training.

We discourage them from that. We don’t even teach them about it – most of us would know any of that to model it for them, let alone teach it to them – so we’re left with young girls who merely thing “there’s too much mass on my legs, I need to “eat less and move more” to get rid of it… and that’s one way how ‘accidental’ anorexics and exercise bulimics are born.

In short, I don’t know whether or not “bone structure” would count as a viable reason why more people would not develop a thigh gap.

But… I digress.

For teenagers, adopting what Greenberg called an “unrealistic obsession” can be dangerous — increasing pressures that can lead to depression, even suicidal behavior, as well as to severe eating disorders, which can cause lasting brain and bone damage.

Indeed, starvation diets — and self-loathing — are a common theme on the “thigh gap” pages of young girls.

“Yesterday i had 380 calories but then i ate candys so much that my calorie number switch to ca. 650…. faaaaaaaaaaaaaat,” writes Anastasia, a young German girl, on Tumblr, who prays: “Please God let me be skinny.”

[…]Shannon Snapp, a sociologist at the University of Arizona, blames magazines, movies and television for spreading the “thin ideal,” and urges consumers to stop buying into it.

“That message is internalized by young women and girls: if you want to be successful, if you want to be liked, this is the way you should look,” Snapp said — “thin everywhere except for their breasts.”

“Teenage girls are probably the most likely to be feeling the pressure to look that particular way, because they are going through puberty: for the first time, they are compared to adult women,” she added.

Likewise, San Jose State University sociologist Natalie Boero said the skinny-obsessed “are looking for social acceptance and to fit in.”

“Young women are aware that in a sexist and sizeist culture, their bodies are their currency, and they are looking to increase their perceived social value,” she added.

In a parenting class I was taking a couple of years ago, we talked a lot about how children learn. So much of what children pick up comes from low-inference data, meaning they observe and – without asking lots of questions – assume that what they’re observing is how it’s supposed to be. Parents can talk to their children and give them tools to understand while also giving them healthier ways to observe and assess (read: value) themselves, but it requires consistent effort. And, as we all know, everybody ain’t able.

I’d imagine that this affects young girls (and, I’d suspect, gay men) a great deal, as people who aim to benefit from having much of that “currency.” Because all that matters, in teendom, is “popularity” and all the popular girls are “effortlessly thin and pretty.”

That’s not how the teenagers themselves always see it, however.

One girl, “mannddda,” declares on Tumblr: “I hate when people tell me I’m dumb for wanting a thigh gap and to be skinny. It’s not for anyone else but ME. I wanna look in the mirror and be happy for MYSELF & NO ONE ELSE.”

But sociologists say there is an unmistakable trend linking body size with social status.

Abigail Saguy, a body image expert at the University of California, Los Angeles, told AFP: “Attaining thinness is a way of signaling elite social status.”

But, worse than that, “fatness not only connotates low social status, but it may predict low social status.”

“Studies show that heavier girls and women are less likely to get hired and when they are hired, they are paid less,” Saguy said, adding that larger women are also less likely to marry.

However, a counter-movement against the “thigh gap” is building, with girls also taking to social media to mock the obsession.

One YouTube video, “5 Ways to Fake a Thigh Gap,” posted by “tadelesmith,” suggests, for example, that girls who want a gap between their thighs should move their legs apart.

And on Twitter, Common White Girl declares herself relieved that her thighs touch, saying: “Not having a thigh gap saved my phone from falling in the toilet.”

I’d said this before in another blog post, but I’ll say it again – those of us who are first-generation college grads, upwardly mobile, and raising your children in more upper-class environments? Those children are often the ones most likely to fall prey to this kind of thinking, because as parents, you are the least likely to even know about this phenomenon and oftentimes the least prepared to fight it.

I’ve seen the “thigh gap” challenges being facilitated in other parts of the web and, while I ‘get it’, I also realize that some people are just not lean enough to get there. Leanness isn’t a “look” – it’s literally your body fat percentage. The higher it is and the larger you are, the less likely you are to have it. Those Brazilian girls that ‘everybody’ loves? Low body fat percentage, high muscle, and fat distributed “in the right places.” Not only that, but some of the ways that these women go about getting that “thigh gap” also result in decreasing their ability to obtain that other thing so many women want, which is a nice booty.

When I look at this article, it makes me sad. “Thigh gaps” do occur in athletes – they train hard, they eat plenty, and they are fit. But that’s not the ideal, because it’s embarrassing to be seen in public eating like an athlete. (I can recall sitting at a table of women, absolutely shocked that I ordered a 3-egg omelet, a side of potatoes and kale, three chicken sausages, and a biscuit for a breakfast/pre-workout meal. I remember looking back at them, confused – “Do you know how many calories I burn in a day? Girl, I’d be gnawing at myself by the end of the hour, and completely uncontrollable post-workout if I ate any less!”) It’s embarrassing to be seen sweating – one of the most frustrating mentalities about the human body is how ugly and unattractive it is to sweat… really? You can’t sweat ever? Damn it, have you not seen Love and Basketball?

Thigh gaps, for women who once did not have them, can occur naturally in healthy, lean, hard-training bodies. A healthy, lean, hard-training body isn’t borne of an person who hates themselves and wants to punish themselves through starvation and hours of cardio a day.

You have to value your health, your pleasure, your happiness enough to pursue your goals in a healthy and sensible fashion. Those models are starving themselves to be thin enough for the photo shoots and the lifestyle is nowhere near as glamorous as we’d like to think. We can train hard (and hard is defined by us as individuals, for us as individuals), be proud of our accomplishments through training, and love ourselves in the process. I have – present tense – chubby hips and thighs, and (not but) I love them. They are mine. I train them to be strong, I run them to help me become lean, and I am proud of what they can do. I love them chubby, I will love them as they change, and if they don’t change the way I want, I’ll find a healthy way to make that happen. I sincerely hope anyone else fixated on a “thigh gap” will do the same.

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32 comments

LJT October 3, 2013 - 1:25 PM

Hi. Thanks for the posting. I used to chase the thigh gap, until I realised at an early age that it wasn’t acheivable for my body type. I’ve always been fit, especially in my thighs. But I’ve, never had slender thighs, so matter how fit and snatched my body was. I realised that my thighs will always touch, and for me, it was really about how much they touch.

I’m okay with this now, especially as I get older. I realise that my body type is okay. I was never a waif, I’ve always had an athletic build. In my young age, I didn’t really appreciate it. But now that I am older, and I see how little cellulite I have, and how quickly I’m able to get fit, because I have muscle, I’m actually ok. And that’s the most important thing.

Thanks for posting though. I thought I was the only person obsessed with the thigh gap.

Amber October 3, 2013 - 1:27 PM

The fact is that not everyone – even at their most fit or slimmest – will not have a thigh gap. I think it is about bones or moreso about your hip/pelvic bone width.

Even at my smallest (5’7″ 135lbs), I never had the ol’ elusive thigh gap. I used to feel bad about it until I found that “everything ain’t meant for everybody” applied here.

Does thing mean not strength training to obtain some definition. No, I still do want shapely legs, but I’m not going to kill myself over trying to obtain this. I have narrow hips; it’s just not going to happen.

Erika Nicole Kendall October 3, 2013 - 5:59 PM

“The fact is that not everyone – even at their most fit or slimmest – will not have a thigh gap. I think it is about bones or moreso about your hip/pelvic bone width.”

I just… okay.

Being small doesn’t necessarily correlate to being lean, though. For some bodies, it’d literally take deteriorating down to the actual bone to make that happen, at which point the owner of said body would have to say “You know what, I value my health and my sanity more than this.”

It’s really not a matter of “my bones don’t permit it” as much as it’s a matter of “I’m not willing to wittle my body down to matchsticks to obtain some quality that I get NO prize for in the end,” and that’s okay. I understand what you’re trying to say, but the “bone” thing is just factually inaccurate. It’s not bones that determine it, it’s literally everything else.

Nikki February 10, 2014 - 9:58 AM

But it IS about bone structure too. Women with “thigh gaps” usually have a wider pelvis and femurs that are set further outside their pelvic girdle than women who don’t. A woman with very narrow hips and femurs set more closely together may never have a thigh gap, no matter how much muscle or adipose tissue they lose. All humans are not structured the sane. Please take an anatomy class.

Erika Nicole Kendall February 10, 2014 - 10:57 AM

“But it IS about bone structure too.”

Bone structure contributes to how wide it can be regardless of mass on the thighs. It is not the end all be all… which is why some women fixate on STARVATION to get it. Hence…

“Women with “thigh gaps” usually have a wider pelvis…”

…the word “usually” in your own comment. ROFL

“Please take an anatomy class.”

I’ve taken several. I’ve also taken courses on eating disorders and guiding clients through physical fixations such as thigh gaps. I’m also a certified personal trainer who carries certifications in both weight loss and women’s fitness, all from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Maybe I need to update my bio or something.

I’ve actually edited my comment because I feel like I’ve seen you around here a few times, and I am going to step out on faith that you’re not being trollish by implying that I need to “take an anatomy class.” But I want you to understand just how insulting, rude, and passive aggressive that kind of statement is, especially as someone who has clearly been visiting here for years.

I’ve literally said the same thing over and over in these comments – people want to fixate on the “bone structure” comment without the full context of my statement. You cannot find a skeleton that exists without a thigh gap. THAT is the cornerstone of the fixation on it – a thigh gap is a marker of thinness for MANY women, which is why the rhetoric surrounding it often resembles that of eating disorder sufferers. Snarking on what you perceive to be my lack of understanding of anatomy doesn’t change that.

Meme October 3, 2013 - 2:11 PM

Thank you for the information. I just had a talk with my 18yo daughter about this; she and her friends think it is funny and are not interested in the trend.

I was teased by the boys in school for having a gap between my legs, they were really mean about it, times have really changed.

Erika Nicole Kendall October 3, 2013 - 6:00 PM

I was JUST talking with someone about how, back in the day, having a “thigh gap” meant that you were “fast.” I mean, problems with that aside, it’s funny how times have changed.

Elle October 3, 2013 - 4:38 PM

Another well written piece! Love it. I always send your articles to my friends because you tell the truth. Sometimes a thigh gap is naturally occurring, but otherwise you have to work to change your body the way you want it.

What people forget is you don’t need to do it by starving yourself, but unfortunately, our society is obsessed with “the easy way out” and never teaching us how to really get healthy. On a side note of the “easy way out’, a mother of friend just died a few days ago – bad diet pills.

Erika Nicole Kendall October 3, 2013 - 5:55 PM

WOW. I’m so sorry for you and your friend’s loss. What an awful thing. 🙁

Shante December 2, 2013 - 1:28 PM

Sorry to hear about your friend’s loss. Would you mind sharing then name of the diet pills she was taking? Maybe someone will read this post and be warned.

Bre October 3, 2013 - 5:13 PM

Too each his/her own. I think that people who desire thigh gaps would benefit from the information you’ve given Erika. You’ve been a big help and inspiration to me in my journey. Is it wrong that I have never desired to have a thigh gap? Does it indicate that my thighs are at “unhealthy” proportions because I don’t have one? I kinda like having muscular thighs, but also having the extra “jiggle” but that’s just me.

Kami October 3, 2013 - 6:13 PM

Thanks for writing about this in your article. My thighs are a problem area for me. After reading this article, my perspective changed about thigh gaps. One of my goals were to stop my thighs from rubbing together but maybe I should reach for getting rid of saddle bags and leaner thighs instead.
Ever since I started reading your blog, I feel like my body image improved and no longer ashamed about eating more than a 1,000 calories a day. Even though I was bulimic in the past, I stopped being around toxic people who starve themselves and shame me for eating. Now I been free of bulimia since March 2012. I am much happier about my body even though its not perfect I gave up on looking at models for perfection.

christine October 4, 2013 - 12:49 PM

That is how (duh) I figured out I needed to loose weight..when I had to put Vaseline on my thighs because they were rubbed raw from walking. I had never thought about it before, then I started to notice my the inside of my jeans started to wear (they were poorly made) You name an excuse..I had one lol

True October 3, 2013 - 8:06 PM

I have been trying to figure out what the big deal was about having a “thigh gap”. An ex co-worker mentions it a lot and she is absolutely obsessed with trying to achieve it. She berates herself so much that even ppl around her are getting worried at what she is doing to get that gap. I worry what kind of message it will send to her kids too. They always see her working out, getting a work out, or going to a work out. She complains about being “fat” although she is barely a size 2. This thigh gap thing is her latest “must have” for her body. smh.

Ellen October 4, 2013 - 12:22 AM

Before I had both my knees replaced (at the same time) I had a thigh gap. Not because I was thin – I was at my heaviest because my knees were so painful I could barely move. They were also “bone on bone, with deformity” – the deformity being that I was bow-legged from the joints collapsing. I LOVE that my thighs touch! Yes, I can move again and it is wonderful and the weight is slowly coming off but trust me, a thigh gap is not on my bucket list. To me, a gap is associated with disability. So glad there are people out there like you promoting healthy eating and workouts. Nice post!

Kerri October 6, 2013 - 12:36 AM

I’m actually shocked that you say it has nothing to do with bone structure. I don’t know. It just makes sense in my head.

My legs are fairly lean, but my thighs touch. I have a rectangular shaped body, so they probably always will. My thinking is that if my hips were wider, without changing the thickness of my thighs, I would have a thigh gap. Am I totally off here?

I don’t care about thigh gaps, myself. I just want to wrap my head around this.

Erika Nicole Kendall October 6, 2013 - 3:52 PM

You’re not off – of course, if your hips were infinitely wide to the point where they allowed space between the thighs you have at your current size, you’d have a thigh gap.

This is less about making sense out of what I’m saying, as it is about making sense out of something valued unnecessarily high. You’re – sensibly – valuing the mass on your thighs, but if you lost the muscle [and/or fat] there, you’d have a gap.

For some women, being THAT small isn’t of interest to them, and they value having actual mass on their thighs. If your body fat percentage is low enough – I’m talking teens and below – then your thighs might maintain mass, but probably won’t be touching.

Basically, I’m saying that bone can contribute, but it’s not the deciding factor… and THAT’s the dangerous part – the inability to realize that simply saying “bone structure” isn’t going to get through to someone who pinches their thighs and feels anything other than bone results in a poorly-targeted message. People (young girls or otherwise) aren’t going to hear a damn thing about bone structure so long as they’re freaking out about whatever mass might be on their inner thigh… something evidenced by the OTHER “thing” spreading in these pro-ana communities, the “hip dip.”

@AquaGoddessDC October 6, 2013 - 3:45 PM

It took me a while to read this post, as I wasn’t sure I would be able to handle it because so much of what I want to do with and for my body seems to draw criticism from others because it’s not like they’ve pursued what the do with and for their bodies.

That said, I am glad I persevered and read the post, because I had no idea that this was a movement. I am thrilled that my formerly touching-even-when-feet-are-hip-width-apart thighs no longer touch when my feet are in that position. That young girls (and, let’s face it, adult women) are going to these extremes reminds me that disordered eating and exercising is fueled by unrealistic expectations and a lack of acknowledging the photo-trickery that we see in media images every day.

I’d love to be able to have a platform to address these issue, and hope and pray that this blog will be able to accomplish these goals.

I admire you and your efforts!!

Megan October 7, 2013 - 1:06 PM

Eh…my sister is a professional athlete and even her thighs touch a bit. I didn’t even know this was something that people wanted to attain. *sigh*

Krista November 4, 2013 - 2:36 PM

I have to say that I greatly enjoy reading your essays and articles. You always seem to have such a unique perspective about things that force me to think in ways I never would have considered before. That being said, I would like you to know that I really appreciated this article, more so than usual.

I have always been a big girl, but I have always had confidence in myself. Over the last year I have really committed to changing my body to be healthier (I avoid using the term “losing weight” simply because, well, if I never weigh 130 lbs there will be no love lost for me) and along the way have encountered changes that I didn’t expect and resented a few that never happened. One of those being the thigh gap. Looking back at pictures of myself as a kid and in high school, my knees have always touched even when my feet were about shoulder width apart ). I always attributed this to being overweight/obese and expected it to change as I started losing weight. It hasn’t. Some preliminary Google searches came back with “knock knees” being the thing at play. It doesn’t cause me any discomfort and really is more of an aesthetic issue as far as I’m concerned, but I bring this up because I was wondering if you have any knowledge or are familiar with any literature regarding knock knees and thigh gaps (or knock knees in general).

Erika Nicole Kendall November 6, 2013 - 10:32 PM

Well, sure…but what about it? If it’s dangerous or a physical deformation? What exactly are you wanting to know?

Krista December 3, 2013 - 11:26 AM

Sorry, I tend to get a little ahead of myself. Just any general info. Most of what I’ve been able to find talks about it being a problem in small children that corrects itself. Are there any exercises I could do to improve it?

Erika Nicole Kendall December 3, 2013 - 10:29 PM

I think your best defense is a well-formed, well-focused weighted squat, ensuring that your knees are over your second and third toes. I mean, it COULD be an imbalance in muscular development, in which case this would help. Little things like focusing on your gait – do you overpronate, as well? – and trying to change it could make a world of difference. If, by some chance, you’re genetically destined to be knock kneed, then I’own know. LOL But I think looking into these two is a start.

Sarah September 9, 2014 - 7:59 PM

I had that problem – squats and lunges to strengthen your leg muscles are good and my problems was caused by ‘flat feet’ as in when I just stand on my feet they fall in and have no arch whatsoever, I use orthotics now to correct the feet (you would have to use orthotics for the rest of your life cause its the structure of your feet and you can’t improve it).

Amy January 19, 2014 - 7:43 PM

It’s a little disturbing that you believe that bone structure has nothing to do with the bow leg look. Or “thigh gap” Thigh gap is from having a wide pelvis. Which is made of bones, which is part of bone structure. The wider your hips, the bigger the gap. It’s a very unattractive look, I have no idea why anyone would try to get this bow legs look. I also remember that the gap bow legs look meant the girl was, um, loose with the guys. Most smart girls didn’t want to look like that. Besides, the butt looks huge. I seriously don’t get it?

Erika Nicole Kendall January 21, 2014 - 2:34 PM

Disturbing? Perhaps if you think that what I’m trying to do is encourage women to pursue this as opposed to trying to be realistic in saying “No, I’m not going to manipulate you into believing this is impossible, I’ll simply tell you that, while it IS possible, you’re certainly not going to achieve it for a very long time AND, before you get even remotely close, you might – and probably should – change your mind.” But I’ve never encouraged an unhealthy pursuit of something that actually meaninglessly devalues muscle for women, so…

“Thigh gap is from having a wide pelvis.”

Sort of. The *width* of a thigh gap is determined by the width of the pelvic bone, but that isn’t going to vary by that much on an adult human body of the same height.

I’d say, if we took two female human bodies – one 5’11” and the other 5’3″ – and both were 140lbs at 28% body fat, one’s probably going to have a thigh gap and the other will not. The width of the pelvis makes a difference there, because one will be larger than the other, and that’s the point you’re making. I get that. But, this also illustrates the point I’m making. The width of the pelvis isn’t the only thing or even the most important thing, which is why the quote above struck me as so weird. 140lbs looks MUCH differently on a 5’11” body in comparison to a 5’3″ body. You look at a skeleton, there’s a gap there. Put skin and organs on it, there’s still a gap there. Fill it in with a little fat, or a little muscle, there’s still a gap there. The more mass you put on the body, the less likely there is to be a gap there. Hence, why women believe the path to achieving it is emaciation… which, for a multitude of reasons, is unhealthy.

Yet, in the quest to obtain the thigh gap, some women go the route of attempting to develop [or actually developing] bulimia or anorexia, fixating on it until it becomes a full blown obsession, hence the communities around the web centered around it. Women are attempting to emaciate themselves, regardless of size or height, in order to achieve it. THAT is why its important to understand what I’m saying – many people are risking their biological health to achieve this, without understanding why that stuff is so valuable and meaningful, or why it’s so hard (and why it SHOULD be so hard) to lose it.

Rooo September 14, 2014 - 12:57 AM

Did I miss you at this today

http://experienceharlem.com/harlem-healthy-soul-festival-at-the-apollo/

or did they just forget to include you in the lineup?

Because I feel as though your positive perspective needed to be included. Enough with the punitives (especially coming from world-weary docs whom I’m sure think they’ve “seen/heard it all” and are “tired of the excuses”, but don’t have the answers about *how* the single mom with the three jobs can find the time to get down to the Fairway before it closes instead of popping into one of the six Popeyes that line 125th from Lex to St. Nicholas (I counted) — or even *mention* that the Planet Fitness is down the block near Marcus’ restaurant (pizza or no pizza; you can just shimmy right on past the pizza on your way to the elliptical).

Ahem.

*sits down*

Erika Nicole Kendall September 14, 2014 - 2:21 PM

Rooo, my love, I’d never even heard about this event! What happened? A lot of finger-wagging (at least, that’s what it sounds like in your comment?)

And yeah, I’ve spent my fair share of time in that particular area. Forty fast food restaurants… one grocery store. Not sure what people expect.

Rooo December 10, 2014 - 8:40 PM

Profound apologies. I had no intention whatsoever of leaving you hanging like that; as I can imagine you can imagine, I’ve started to respond several times, and not only have I been pulled in what feels like ninety directions simultaneously, but I also didn’t want to get into a round of preaching to the choir – because we both know that’s what I’d be doing re: this

“What happened? A lot of finger-wagging (at least, that’s what it sounds like in your comment?)”

– and not say anything else constructive.

What I do think is that there might well be a golden opportunity moment in more than one way for those of us who viscerally know that getting & staying in functional shape when you work 2 or 3 jobs and the Fairway is by the West Side Hwy and you live all the way down on the other end near Lex, won’t be home for delivery, and don’t have the cash money to hand out to the taxi 2 or 3 times a week for a back and forth (and it will at least 2 times with a houseful of young ones … or elders, these days, FTM) to be able to offer & provide a solution that’s at least a few steps up from said finger-wagging (which we know don’t do a d*mn thing except make people feel worse about themselves … and it’s hard to get to the gym for the grind and make those food choices when you’re in that mindset that what you’ve got isn’t worth taking care of).

I don’t think those illustrious dudes came there *just* out of the goodness of their hearts, KWIM? I get the feeling they either are under some real pressure to produce (some of them, like the doc who was onstage with Doc Ian whose school is near literally right across the street from the Apollo) or are looking for some big exposure with a success. Or both. I think this is a critical moment for possible delivery of some tools that might receive the support of them and other similar players.

I also know it’s not like everybody you want to hear you (universal “you”) is going to hear you no matter what you offer; you could come to them with platinum-plated custom-tailored Pilates equipment and a personal chef and they’d come out of their mouth with something like this. Or this. Which, I was like … o.O

(And they were talking about yoga, not my beloved Pilates. But if one doesn’t know what they are, those Reformers can look like something out of a BDSM dungeon, LOL, so I figure it’s only a matter of time before they turn those eyes on us.)

But I am wondering if we can find some time and space during this already cray holidaze season to find some time to have a little herbal tea and a chat about it.

*necro-sneaks away*

Erika Nicole Kendall December 13, 2014 - 9:05 AM

🙂

Someday, my dear. Someday.

As for the rest… oy. That’s all I’ve got. SOMEONE is going to emerge as the savior to The Black Community’s Obesity Problem (TM), and folks are fighting tooth and nail to get there.

I’ll just leave it at that. *sips water Kermit-style*

Rooo December 10, 2014 - 8:42 PM

Oh, oh. Usually I see the “being held in moderation” sign. Did my whole comment just get et?

Erika Nicole Kendall December 13, 2014 - 8:49 AM

Nope. I got you. 🙂

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