Of thigh gaps, calories and ignorance about how bodies actually work

When I was about twenty-two years old, I had this idea that I was going to see if I could become a model – because that’s what tall, thin, slightly insecure girls do, I suppose – so for a summer, in an attempt to slim my entire body down, I restricted my calories, did a bunch of yoga and spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to do spot-reduction exercises aimed at my “problem spots.”  (Basically, I did everything wrong.) I was particularly obsessed with my thighs, and I had this daily routine of weighted leg-lifts that I’d do in my bedroom, all in a futile attempt at slimming them down to what I thought of as model proportions.  I was particularly maddened by my inner thighs, which touched no matter what I did.

I thought about that summer this morning when I read Tracy’s post at Fit, Feminist and (almost) Fifty about the “thigh gap” obsession, which seems to be ongoing among a certain set of young woman.  Obviously this isn’t a new thing – see my first paragraph -  but thanks to the internet, it’s been getting media coverage under the guise of the “disturbing new trend” in teenage body image problems.

Tracy lays out the biggest problem with the fixation on the thigh gap:

The thigh gap is just another example of the false idea that achieving a certain (often unattainable by most) aesthetic will bring happiness. Seeking inspiration from representations of unattainable ideals is a set-up — at a minimum it leads to disappointment and demoralization, at worst it can lead people to under-eat, overexercise, and develop eating disorders.

The rest of the post is great, so make sure to go and read it.

I sometimes come across thigh-gap thinspo in my various travails around the internet, and one thing I am always struck by is how the thighs held up as the ideal are little more than skin stretched over bone.  Like, where is the muscle?  Muscle is necessary to being able to walk, jump, lift boxes, squat down, you name it.  Thighs need muscle to be functional!  Muscle should not be considered optional!

And not just muscle, but body fat, too.  Body fat is not an evil thing.  Body fat provides you with padding so you don’t bang your bones and organs against things all the time.  It keeps your body warm.  It produces hormones, especially estrogen, which is another thing that is not really optional!

The obsession with the thigh gap is an example of the way the biological realities of our bodies have become totally divorced from the aesthetic ideals against which they are held.  It’s not even a matter of form versus function.  In this case, obsession with form – the thigh gap – obliterates function – the thigh’s ability to do what thighs do.

I see this with calories, too.  Somehow the calorie has become this terrible evil that needs to be minimized at all costs, with the ideal being as close to zero as possible. It’s as if calories are thetans and we are all Scientologists and we are supposed to do whatever is necessary to become free of them.  But what this mindset fails to grasp is that calories are necessary.  Every living thing needs to take in some kind of fuel to burn – because that’s what a calorie is, it’s a measure of heat, not evil soul-destroying awfulness bent on ruining your life -  and a certain number of them are absolutely essential just to exist.

I remember reading Wasted by Marya Hornbacher several years ago, and being struck by a passage in which she describes having an epiphany about food, and how food was something she actually needed. Her belief that food was inherently evil had so thoroughly absorbed her that she’d all but forgotten that food is an essential part of life.

As much as I want to believe that this is a mindset that is limited to people with eating disorders and those who seek to emulate them, the reality is that I see this kind of thinking showing up all over the place: in daily conversations, on healthy living blogs that promote seventeen-calorie “desserts,” even in fitness magazines and on daytime television. It’s as if we have become so accustomed to thinking of ourselves as apart from – and in some ways, above – the natural world, like science does not apply to our bodies, like the only thing forcing us to eat more than 1200 calories a day is lack of willpower and not, you know, our metabolism.

There’s a lot of nastiness to unpack when it comes to things like the obsession with the thigh gap and zero-calorie everything, and a basic lack of understanding about how bodies work is only one part of that, but man, it is a really big part of it.  Knowledge like “food is necessary to live” and “your body needs muscles so it can do stuff” isn’t esoterica, and yet when I see pages after pages of thigh-gap instructions like “don’t cross your legs because you’ll retain water” or diet tips like “roll your fruit in diet Jello for a tasty calorie-free dessert” or “don’t starve yourself but only eat a little bit every two hours” and I’m reading these not in some Dark Ages of science but in the 21st century, I can’t help but think we’ve somehow failed in a really basic way.  Like, we aren’t even succeeding at being alive.  Like, amoeba do this whole “feeding and existing” thing better than some of us supposedly highly evolved beings.

Or maybe I’m just morose because I spent an hour searching “thigh gap” on the internet and it was a lot like looking into the darkness and seeing the darkness staring back at me.  That’s probably it, isn’t it.

P.S. To the person who wrote an article in which they asked, “Is your thigh gap the right shape?” – go fuck yourself.

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85 responses to “Of thigh gaps, calories and ignorance about how bodies actually work

  1. P.S. To the person who wrote an article in which they asked, “Is your thigh gap the right shape?” – go fuck yourself

    I Loved this – genius! I do find myself occasionally thinking these days “£1?! And it’s only got 50 calories – that’s such a rip off” whih makes me happy. And the other day someone was telling me they only eat egg whites and throw the yolks away and I thought “but you’re buying the eggs and throwing the calories away, that’s such a waste of money!” But I couldn’t express it. The idea of paying more for less only really exists in the diet food market! It’s crazy if you think about it – we need a certain amount of energy per day and its pretty expensive and yet we pay more for less!

    • That’s such a good point, that people are paying more for food that is less nutritionally valuable! Like, why not spend that extra money on grass-fed meat and eggs or organic fruits and vegetables, if you’ve got the money to throw away like that!

      And are people still avoiding egg yolks? I thought it was pretty much acknowledged that the whole panic over egg yolks was one of nutrition science’s bigger mistakes.

      • “I thought it was pretty much acknowledged that the whole panic over egg yolks was one of nutrition science’s bigger mistakes.”

        Only among us who live in “real food” world. Among the general population, that information hasn’t been assimilated or even acknowledged yet, particularly among mainstream health “authorities”. If it had, then you wouldn’t still be seeing low-fat/skim/0calorie/eggsubstitute anything in stores still.

      • Some people legitimately don’t like egg yokes. My brother refuses to eat them and always has. I’m not sure if it is a psychological thing or what but there are reasons that people throw away egg yokes other than “OMG calories!”

  2. So glad you wrote about this. Unfortunately the young girls who should read this, won’t. I’ve seen it called the “infamous thigh gap” and in a favorable way! WTF. I actually vocalized and made a screwed-up face at my computer screen at the fruit in Jell-O thing. That’s just gross. You’re right, calories are necessary. The young women trolling the internet somehow think that they don’t have to give fuel for temperature regulation, to power brain function, to support internal organs and move muscles. Oh wait, they have none. They’re trying to get rid of their fat and muscles. Maybe they should just be organ donors, too. I wouldn’t be surprised if they start selling their kidneys just to lose a couple more ounces. On another note, how is your open water training coming along? I’m looking forward to another post about your swim development.

  3. This is amazing, thank you for doing that research so we don’t have to. I admit I hadn’t heard much about the whole thigh gap phenomenon (and for that I count myself lucky).

    The bit about amoebas being better at living than us… best thing I’ve read today, especially because it’s true. Why do we make it so damn hard, I’ll never understand.

    • I will never understand how it came to be that we use our big brains and our capabilities for higher-level thought to do little more than invent ever-more sophisticated ways to destroy ourselves.

  4. Amen and awomen all over this post. I’ve been having a shift in my attitude toward food along these lines. This also reminds me a lot of my new favorite health blog (which, of course has NOT replaced my love for the present superior health blog), posting scientifically grounded stuff like the following: http://gokaleo.com/?p=1041.

    • I spent an hour last night reading through that website. So excellent. Thanks for sharing that link with me – her blog is definitely going on my list of daily reads.

  5. Loving the last comment, and laughing on the ground! About time someone told them to just go fuck themselves.

  6. “Like, we aren’t even succeeding at being alive. Like, amoeba do this whole ‘feeding and existing’ thing better than some of us supposedly highly evolved beings.”

    Hhahhahah!

    I have no thigh gap. Not even a knee gap, and I suspect I never will. Go Caitlin!

  7. I remember when I was a teen a girlfriend of mine really envied my thigh gap. She asked me how or why is it when I stood with my feet together that my thighs didn’t touch. I didn’t know what to say. It was nothing I did or didn’t do, it was jut the way I was. My daughter is 18 and I just asked her if she has friends who worry about thigh gap and envy anyone who has it…she nodded. How sad, but our sick culture fuels it all! I keep telling my girls to eat whole foods and listen to their bodies when they’re hungry. I tell them above all to love themselves and a big part of loving themselves is respect for their bodies.

  8. As a biomedical science person, the idea of “the thigh gap” as something one can willfully control sound ludicrous because it’s mostly a function of one’s bone structure, namely the angle at which the femur and pelvic girdle connect and the shape of the femur. News flash: If you a tendency towards being “bow legged”/Genu varum, you’ll probably also have a natural thigh gap; if you have a tendency toward “knock-knees”/Genu valgum, you’ll probably never have a thigh gap (with some variation based on musculature and body fat). Between this sort of rubbish and the made-up reproductive ideas of conservative politicians, it seems that many people would have benefitted from some basic biology/physiology education.

    • Pardon the pedantry, but in my experience varus and valgus deformities aren’t generally subjects covered in a general biology curriculum. They’re seem to be far more interested in teaching you the particulars of how flowers fuck and the effects it’d have on the ecosystem.

      • Ha! In the spring when our cars are completely dusted with tree pollen, I routinely comment to my kids “The trees are having sex all over our car!” Which generally nets me horrified looks from the neighbors.

    • Hmm, I have a science degree and consider myself to have at least a basic education when it comes to biology and physiology, but I never learned about the thigh gap or leg deformities in my classes (also, if you were going to learn about it, wouldn’t it be in an anatomy class, not biology or physiology?).
      I think dismissing body concerns like the thigh gap as something that only uneducated people worry about is a grave error.

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  10. I remember at some point in highschool I realized that I couldn’t think of a single actual athlete that had a “thigh gap” (although at the time I was not enlightened to this concept yet, so I didn’t call it that). Legitimately athletic women have muscular legs, bottom line, despite what the models in “shape”, “fitness”, and… all those other faux-health magazines might lead you to believe. It’s all a big scam.

    • Yes, this.

      And you know, I understand that not everyone wants to be muscular and athletic, but the alternative to muscular thighs isn’t no (or very little) muscle at all.

  11. My mom used to have a book/video of Callanetics (http://www.callanetics.com/). There was a photograph in it of “where a woman’s legs were supposed to touch.” There were only tiny points where they should touch, and clearly the inner thighs was NOT one of them.

    I became obsessed with this when I was in middle school. Nevermind the fact that I had just had a growth spurt and quit gymnastics because I grew a gut and just was no longer excelling. I had (and still do) big Polish meaty muscle legs.

    I’ve been trying to scour the internet for this picture for years and cannot find it! I may have to go on the mission again because I want to know how ridiculous it is. It’s plagued me for so long!

    • I’d totally love to ask the person who came up with that just who decided that that was what women’s legs were “supposed” to look like. I mean, I don’t think it’s like, coded in our DNA or anything.

      • The sad thing is that Callan Pinckney’s exercises can be tremedously useful for people trying to rebalance muscle asymmetries that cause back pain, poor form and so on. Some of them even fix terible pain problems. I give them to my clients all the time. But I spit apotropaically to the four corners of the compass whenever I pick up the book because of her snotty remarks about the kind of body a woman should want (hint: my “the truck stops here” build is right out of it. Muscles! Horrors!)

    • I know exactly what you’re talking about. Our gym teacher in grade school lined us up (I believe it was during the Presidential Fitness exam) and told us how our inner thighs weren’t supposed to touch. There had to be a very blatant figure 8 showing on your legs, which was a large open gap from the top of your thighs, your knees touching, then the bottom of the 8 before your calves touch.

      Woohoo at starting those body issues early.

  12. Excellent. The petty things in life young girls think are important. I wasted 15 years of my “hottest” body worrying about things like that…what a waste of a fabulous youth.

  13. I went down an eating-disorder-site rabbit hole once. The website claimed NOT to be pro-ana but it totally was. From reading the articles and their comments, I got the impression that these people actually think that with enough weight loss, we could all look exactly the same. They all want the thigh gap and the collarbones and the tiny waist and tiny hips (how you can have a tiny waist without hips, I don’t know). There was no acknowledgment of skeletal shape– that if you have a smaller pelvis, then you’re not going to have the thigh gap, and broad shoulders, wide or heart-shaped hips, and short limbs are not going to change no matter how much weight you lose. There was one topic ripping into the model Kate Upton for having “no waist” even though pictures of her in a bikini clearly show that she simply has a high waist. Her hipbones are right up under her ribcage, so her torso is going to look “thicker” no matter how thin she is. It’s her fricking skeleton making her “fat” to these ladies. I know it’s not easy to snap out of the thinspo stuff, but a little critical thinking would probably go a long way on these sites.

    • Ugh, the Kate Upton criticism really galls me. I’m guessing I know what site you are referring to, and if it is the one I think it is, then yeah, I totally agree that it’s pro-ana. In fact, a lot of the stuff out there that masquerades as healthy living are definitely promoting disordered thinking.

  14. Oh hell, that garbage! My mom had Callan’s VHS and I remember Callan talking about how a woman should look, too. She pointed out her own elliptical gap between her thighs, barely any contact at the knees, and a slight touch at the high calves. I distinctly remember her saying that the place where the buttox meets the thigh should be at the same level as the groin, then she said, “See, my buttox is actually HIGHER than my groin” as the camera panned in on her. I had a complex at 17 and followed that damn video. What garbage.

  15. The thigh gap fetish/goal depresses me to no end for all of the reasons you mention in your post, but in particular when I see people post pictures of themselves standing in the most awkward poses so commenters will praise their thigh gaps.

    Excellent, if also depressing, post. :)

  16. I didn’t even know thigh gaps were a thing until . . . I don’t know, maybe 2 years ago? I saw an ad for a plastic surgeon and there was a before and after picture of thighs. I saw the after picture and thought “hmm. . . i guess that looks better. much fuller. though i’m not sure why someone would want to put implants in their thighs.”
    Of course I was looking at that backwards and the ‘after’ picture was really the ‘before’ and it was supposed to be showing some sort of surgery that gave the woman a thigh gap. Then I suddenly got self conscious and thought “Oh my god, is this a thing? Are my thighs not supposed to touch? My thighs have always touched! My thighs tear holes through jeans in a matter of months! What’s wrong with me!?”

    . . . It was great for my self esteem.

    Now I don’t even care though because I think my thighs look awesome.

  17. Thank goodness I hadn’t heard about this in HS! I remember having that gap as a bony, gaunt kid, but then I started running and got so geeked about my muscles filling in and that awkward looking gap disappearing! I had muscles! I was thrilled! My brain recognized this as something healthy for my body before I could get brainwashed by the media. I feel bad for kids today who get bombarded with this stuff with much greater frequency than I did in a small town over 20 years ago.
    And long live whole eggs, butter and real food!

  18. How how VERY true! A website I use to track calories (and I eat a fair amount of them!) has a forums section. I was appalled to find that people discuss their thigh gap or lack thereof – and they never consider that their genetic make up excludes them from this weird phenomenon. I also see people there who can’t understand why they don’t lose weight when they are only eating 900 calories a day and working out like fiends. These people don’t seem to understand that they are doing more harm that good with their negative calorie obsession. You’d think people would be smarter than this, but sadly, they aren’t.

  19. LOVED this post! I too, like most teenager girls, went through a phase where I was obsessed with achieving “the thigh gap”. I did realise, probably later than I should have, that I think my thighs are just meant to touch… and it is not a big deal! Also, your PS had me laughing out loud and saying “touche!” to an empty office :)

  20. Back in the day when women and girls wore “cords” if you had big thighs you made a lot of noise when you walked. I made so much noise i gave up wearing them. Never heard of thigh gap until I read a book by Susan Powter in the 1990s.

  21. It’s as if calories are thetans and we are all Scientologists and we are supposed to do whatever is necessary to become free of them

    THIS IS THE BEST ANALOGY EVER OH MY GOSH!

    And, yes, I think some women — probably even a lot of women — are just always going to have fat at the top of the inner thigh. It was certainly the case for me; I started out my adolescence very thin — probably 120 pounds* at a not-quite-full height of five-six or -seven. (I’m 5’8″ now). I threw myself into weightlifting my freshman year of high school, and kept it up through college, adding a HUGE amount of muscle mass and maintaining pretty low levels of body fat. Since leaving college, I have added more fat. Anyway, whether we’re talking about 120-pound, stick-figure, twelve-year-old me, 180-pound me, or 200-pound me, THE THIGHS ALWAYS TOUCH. I might be able to lose fat from other places on my body, like my stomach, but never the inner thighs. This has never bothered me; I just noticed it as one of my body’s few constants over a period of radical change.

    (Also, here’s a way to get a thigh gap without doing anything dangerous: widen your stance! LOL!)

    *At least between the ages of 10 and 18, my weight has always been about ten times my age. Makes it very easy to remember how big I was at different times in my life …

  22. Love this post. Only last night I was talking to my partner about how we had changed our diet over the last few months and how much better we were feeling. It was in response to a challenge from my trainer to eat 20 different nutritious foods a day. Putting the focus on hunting out and eating good food instead of concentrating on the things you think you shouldn’t eat… revolutionary.

    One of my most depressing moments recently was chowing down on some brazil nuts, and someone next to me commented ‘oh, they are quite fattening’, whilst knocking back some low-fat yoghurt made of non-food. Arg!

    Calories are not the enemy. They give the you energy to do splendid things.

  23. Funny thing is, I remember reading in a book somewhere that you could see if you had “good legs” by putting coins between ankles, knees, and upper thighs, because a lady’s legs are to touch in those three places but those three places only. And now one of those coins has been taken away! Ugh.

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  26. You know where I learned that my thighs were not supposed to touch? Kathy. Do you remember that horrible little comic strip? Every week, Kathy was trying on bathing suits or jeans and hating her body – especially the fact that her thighs touched. Man, I hated Kathy.

    I was an athletic preteen and teen, thank goodness. I grew up figure skating and ice dancing and was very serious about it. A friend (a gymnast) and I spent our 8th grade year in a friendly competition to see which of us could bulk up her quads the most by the end of the year!

  27. Totally agree. I wasn’t even aware that this was becoming a popular trend, but being a health food fanatic and someone with rather curvy thighs I am happy to say that I will not be attempting this trend. Being strong, fit and using food energy wisely is the best way to be healthy. Trying to live up to an ideal that doesn’t exist, or only exists for a small percentage of individuals is misguiding and potentially damaging.

  28. Uber frightening, the way the internet spreads idiot thoughts like wildfire. I can tolerate the existence of girls age 13-20 who are struggling to find themselves and what is important in life, but I’m ashamed of the older pigeon-toe-posing bloggers. Horrible role models.

    • I KNOW RIGHT? Some of these bloggers – and I suspect we may be reading some of the same ones – are so stunted in terms of this stuff that I often find myself reading their stuff and going, “YOU ARE ALMOST THIRTY. ACT LIKE IT.” I really should stop the hate-reading, it’s not good for me.

  29. I recently found myself staring down the prospect of trying to feed a family of two adults and three rapidly growing children using only public assistance and food banks. I wrote menus, tossed them, tried to write them again, and realized that I had to reorganize everything in my hypothetical food inventory based on how much each item would fill a person up and for how long. Superfoods, cancer-fighting foods, unsaturated this and omega-3 that, even having vegetables at every meal–they all had to come after the plain need to make sure that people in our family were not trying to get through life while hungry (or feeling cruddy from trying to fill up on carbs, or constipated–the really immediate problems). And it struck me that hunger is regarded as a social solecism, like farting in public. No, it’s your body telling you that you have to have fuel!

    Wouldn’t it be amazing to see an ad pop up for a new type of yogurt marketed to women that was creamy because it had actual cream in it, and the ad said not one word about calories or slimness or “fitness” or thighs? A big 8-ounce full-fat yogurt with crushed blueberries on the bottom and some chewy wheat berries on the top, flavored with honey and vanilla, and sold as a way to be not hungry. Imagine!

    • It would be refreshing to see such straight-forward advertising, but that isn’t quite as sexy and flashy as “this food prevents cancer!” or “this food will make you a size 0″ or “hotties will want to bone you if you eat this!”

      Also, your first paragraph is very sobering and it reminds me of just how far afield we’ve gone with a lot of our necessities. I hope things start looking up for you and your family soon.

      • Thank you. Although I’m going in for a WIC appointment tomorrow, some events that would have seriously wrecked our income appear to be not going to happen. Speaking of necessities: We just barely didn’t qualify for WIC last year. We do this year. The main income earner has had the same job for 25 years, but the recent expiration of the Social Security payroll tax freeze ate his raise and then some–and food prices continue to go up. As I wrote on my WIC application, things we used to purchase every week we only get on sale now, or on clearance, or not at all.

        Meanwhile the local middle school has been forced to start serving lunch in two lines, without the budget for an extra server, because of the new USDA regulations aimed at making school lunches “healthy” by forcing growing children to be hungry. See, some of them are at the top of one age/calorie bracket and some are at the bottom of the next. The difference amounts to several square inches of pizza. But if the younger students get the older students’ slightly larger but still insufficient portion size, the school loses funding they can’t afford to lose. Because a program that was started to make sure that kids weren’t distracted from their schoolwork by hunger has been altered to ensure just that for nearly every child in school. Or else they might get FAT FAT FAAAAAT. You might even not be able to see between the girls’ legs!

        Anyway, here endeth the rant.

      • So wait…they reduced the caloric levels for the kids but didn’t actually change the food they were feeding them?! Da fuq? I don’t even know what to say. I mean, besides the obvious sputtering about missing the goddamned point.

      • @Caitlin: The food is, supposedly, “healthier,” as in it contains more fruits and vegetables. However, this is more than offset by the miserably small portions for older children. Here they are:

        K-5 children get 350-500 calories for breakfast and 550-650 calories for lunch.

        Grades 6-8 get 400-500 calories for breakfast and 600-700 calories for lunch.

        High schoolers get 450-600 calories for breakfast and 750-850 calories for lunch.

        Note that this is the school meal program, which was originally designed to get poor children full so that they could concentrate on their schoolwork. Often this is the only food these children will get all day, or they will have something pathetically inadequate for dinner such as Wonder bread with ketchup because that’s what their parents can afford. So your high schooler gets a maximum of 1,450 calories guaranteed, and possibly nothing else until the next morning. We are talking people who may already be at or near their adult height. The Minnesota Semi-Starvation Experiment fed its volunteers more than that!

        Middle schoolers get no more than 1,200 calories guaranteed, split into two meals–assuming that they are able to get school breakfast. This is so little that they may not get a top slice of bread on their sandwiches. Note that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 1,600 calories for girls and 1,800 for boys in this age range.

        Grades K-5 are lumped together, with some of the people in this group being literally twice as big as others. The good news is that the tiny kids generally get the same size meal as the big ones. The bad news is that the big kids get the same size meal as the tiny ones. The worse news is that the maximum allowed is still under the daily AAP guidelines, even for the youngest children–and, again, this may be all the food they get until the next morning.

        To add insult to injury, the fat has been stripped out of the food (because touching fat makes you fat amirite?). So the kids can’t even count on a filling drink of whole milk when the food is nasty.

  30. I just found your blog, and am so happy I did!! Excellent, excellent post. The “thigh gap” is probably one of the more evil ideas in society today, yet that is the one thing that so many girls strive for. Why not strive for squatting 1.5 x your body weight! Or bench pressing 100+ lb? It makes me sick how rampant some of that stuff is on the internet, and how seemingly so many young girls eat it up like it’s the bible.

  31. Thank you all for insulting my body.

    I have had thigh gap all my life — my upper legs barely touch at all, anywhere. I am slightly bowlegged, it’s true, and I have a very wide pelvis, which also helps.
    But I’m not anorexic or unmuscular.
    I have never dieted, but I’ve always been slim. I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full. No food issues. I’m not an athlete, but I can walk all 16 floors up to my apartment without panting, and I do strength training 3x a week. Now, at 50, I have a protruding tummy since I’m putting on menopause fat — and my thighs STILL don’t touch. It’s not easy to find flattering pants, believe me.
    I’ve had it up to here for years with women who have to insult thin women in order to support heavier women — and now I have to put up with you all insulting me for having chicken legs, too?
    I do my squats. I’m not lacking in muscle. Nor am I lacking in curves.

    This is my body, and you all can go to hell.

    • You missed the point, which is that the vast majority of women cannot and will not ever have a thigh gap, and yet it is being held up as an ideal despite the fact that most of us would have to resort to seriously unhealthy measures in order to make it happen.

      I am sorry that people have given you such a hard time about your legs and your body – that sucks and I don’t support that at all. But again, I think you missed the point of the post, if you think this is all about insulting women who naturally have thigh gaps.

      • Where is it stating this is the ideal for womans thighs? From what I hear its a bunch of models and some teens. That’s hardly saying its the ideal for women.

    • Good for you. You don’t have to feel like that over these thin exercise haters. Its just best to ignore the likes of them. Someone will always b there to say “you should be more like me” . Stay strong.

  32. Hi there. I just found your blog and am loving this post. Especially the last bit where you just throw it out there. This is great. Food is fuel, energy, nutrition, life sustaining and something we should all be able to enjoy, especially when we actually eat real whole foods. Great post.

  33. I went to his website and read all the ridiculous (so-called) tips. It’s so stupid. Thanks for posting this and helping us women expand our minds further about all the sexism that exists out there. I will not take part in it. Ugh, disgusted.

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  36. Oh, and in a Shiatsu text I still have, published in the sixties by a therapist who was at the top of his profession in Japan, there is the remark that “wasting of the flesh inside the thigh, especially in young women, can indicate a serious problem.” Pace to the lady who naturally has a thigh gap, above. Most of my runner clients do. Most of the rest of us don’t. And apparently at least one school of body culture thinks it means that some disorder should be ruled out. At least the Shiatsu guy was only interested in making sure people’s health was OK.

  37. I wish we would take a more aggressive stand against media that exploits women. Until something drastic is done nothing will get through these stupid girls. the media needs to stop making the 6′ tall 100 lb. models the ideal. every woman is an ideal unless they starve (or stuff) themselves. victoria secret (cheap badly made bras) models look horrible but young girls feel they should look like them, why, because all the stupid boys think they’re hot, they believe the fantasy. let us send a message and boycott these “sex peddlers” until we put our foot down and say ENOUGH things will never change.

    • I don’t buy into the hype around the models but I do wear and enjoy their bras. I always thought my racerback Body by Victoria bras were well made. What brand do you wear? I wanna try!

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  39. I have had the greatest last 2 years of my life. I am 42 yrs old, I quit smoking 2 years ago (2 packs a day) and went from 175 lbs to 218 and now back down to 150 lbs. I am learning a lot about my body..how we need food to keep our bodies going and also what is healthy for you and what is not. Now I just read a few articles on this new thigh gap craze going around and I just have to say I don’t see what the big deal is with everyone putting it down. Ive been running a lot for cardio the past year and for the last 3 months I have been on a weight lifting program for my abs.from just the cardio my thighs have gone from touching to not touching at all with my feet together. This was awesome for me when I finally realized it. It wasnt something I was trying to do. Just happened. And I know when I was at that 200lb mark..I always noticed the thighs rubbing. I hated it. So who is saying that’s better than thighs that don’t rub? And it doesnt seem too unrealistic to obtain like I’m reading here and there. Maybe we as a society have gotten so used to being bigger and taking our health for granted that we have to complain about the ones who do want to feel and look better. I don’t know.

    • Dude, I’m actually really thin and my thighs touch. That’s just how my body is built. That’s how a lot of people’s bodies are built. Consequently I would say that, yeah, it is pretty damn unrealistic to expect that everyone’s body is going to be able to do that if they work hard enough.

      You just commented elsewhere that it seems like it’s just “models and teens” promoting the thigh gap, but your idea that a) anyone can achieve it if they work hard enough and b) that it’s somehow inherently more desirable to have thighs that don’t touch than thighs that do touch is – wait for it – promoting the ideal of the thigh gap. *mind blown*

      • I just think its more desirable to not have your thighs rubbing. Not a promotion at all. And like I said, I didnt even notice that my thighs werent rubbing anymore. Now that I have..great..I feel that much better cause it was annoying. Sorry if im giving the wrong impression, I think it shouldnt matter 1 way or the other what the person chooses. But a lot of the comments ive been reading seem to point towards that persons disgust for someone elses opinion

    • Okay, so biomechanically you’re able to have that gap after losing weight. What Caitlin and other bloggers and commentors are saying is that for some women, there will never be a gap regardless of thinness. You lost weight over 2 years and at the end you have the gap. I get the impression that if you happened, through no fault of your own, to still have thighs touching you’d be unhappy because you prefer the gap. You can say you like and prefer your gap but just recognize that you can’t take sole credit for it. Some of it is biology. If people would just read instead of emotionally respond, you all would see that no one damns the gap itself, or the lack thereof. We damn the overvalue of the gap.

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