Thighs. Where to even begin. Such a simple body part thrown so out of proportion in importance. Shelley Lask put it better than I ever could: “When our cultural messages are so strong that even people with a list of achievements that would blow your mind feel embarrassed about their thighs, something is very wrong…” I couldn’t agree more. Yet, my thighs are one of my biggest insecurities.
I don’t remember when I was first introduced to the concept of the “thigh gap.” I think sometime in high school on social media. Most likely Pinterest. It was not a particularly conscious thing I learned. It was more something I observed and heard of. No one told me I should have a thigh gap. But, I just knew that I should. The media showed me that it was desirable to have a thigh gap. That’s what skinny, perfect models had.
There were so many things that contributed to me developing an eating disorder. The media is one factor in causing it and the thigh gap just a subsection presented within the media. So, why am I dedicating a whole blog post to thighs? Well, because I have been taught that my worth is based around what I look like, which includes my thighs. And also because recently I have been over analyzing my thighs.
I’m going to be straight up with you. I had a thigh gap. I have the pictures to prove it. But it never seemed like enough. You think you will feel good enough once you get to this weight or have a thigh gap, but you WON’T. I never felt like my thighs, or any part of my body was good enough. I still thought my thighs were too big even when they were at their smallest. I had some muscle on my legs because I was a runner, so I still didn’t like the way my thighs looked most of the time.
Recovery changes things. And changes them again. And again. About a month into treatment I remember I was at a restaurant for a college interview. Before the interview started I went to the bathroom. I had a piece of paper in my hand and I tried to stick it in between my legs to hold it while I washed my hands. It fell out. I felt relieved that I still had a thigh gap. I do not have a thigh gap any more though. My body is not meant to have a thigh gap though, so now that I am weight restored I am a mermaid again.
Here at college I have thought about first impressions and judgement from my peers. As much as looks supposedly don’t matter, they do. We all know they do. Even though they shouldn’t. So mentally I have had many moments of questioning whether my body is good enough. Of course I have though. It is part of the process of recovery. So, to help me with my thighs touching I started telling myself they were giving each other a high five. Thus the high thive was born!
Now when I am walking, sitting, or standing and my thighs are bothering me I simply think “High thive!” and instantly I feel somewhat better. When you can step back and joke about it, you take the power over your thoughts back. My thighs are not the problem. The voices in my head telling me my thighs look bad are the problem. The phrase “high thive” reminds me of this.
Ok now can we just take a moment to think about how sad it is that our culture and the media are teaching girls that what really matters about them is the amount of space between their thighs? How ridiculous is that! Mother Theresa didn’t worry about the size of her thighs. She had things to do. The thigh gap is just another example of our culture trying to impose unattainable beauty standards on girls and women. The thigh gap controls and limits girls, like our society has done for hundreds of years. We may be able to go to college now, but many of the same ingrained ideas about women are still present today. My point is this: do not fall for the thigh gap. Letting your thighs touch (like they should) is an act of rebellion against our media, our society, and the patriarchy!
And don’t for even a second think the thigh gap is a measure of health. Most women’s bodies do not naturally have a thigh gap because their hip and bone structure do not allow for it. The only time I had a thigh gap was when I was anorexic and unhealthy. Also many images in the media are photoshoped to make models appear to have a thigh gap, when in all actuality they do not. It is easy to not think about this when we see images of thin models. So try your best to question the images presented to you. I didn’t. But I wish I had. And even now, seeing many images in the media can be triggering for me and make me feel inadequate. Which is why I gave up fashion magazines, I rarely look at Pinterest nowadays (except for the occasional inspirational quote), and I avoid thin models on my Instagram feed. Of course, I cannot eliminate seeing skinny people in my everyday life. I will see people with thin thighs and wish I had my own thigh gap back. But I do my best to remind myself that this is the right body for me. I am healthy now. And if nothing else my thighs are giving each other a high thive! So next time you may be having the same thoughts, try and be cognitive and instead tell yourself your thighs love each other, just as you should love them too.