Stand up straight, knees together and see whether you have a gap between your thighs? If you do, then you have the thigh gap that is right at the center of a current debate that has exploded all over social media. If you have the gap, naturally, then so be it—it’s your body type and you should be proud of your body no matter what. However, in the event that you don’t have it, and most of us don’t, again, we’d like to congratulate you on a fabulous body and hope that you are happy just the way you are.
The problem starts when the fashion world goes out of its way to promote exceptionally skinny models, where that gap is highly emphasized in their photo campaigns, and then droves of young shoppers get the wrong idea—that this is the only way to look good in the same clothes, and that this is the ideal look/standard of beauty!
There’s no escaping the fact that our body image is something that takes center stage in our private lives; it’s true, there is not one person who does not concern themselves with the way they look. Although this obsession, obviously varies in degree and importance, for the most part there is no arguing with the fact that women care about what they wear, how they do their hair and what their body looks like. Now that we’ve established the fact that we’re all pretty much the same, it’ll be easier to take a look at the newest debate to stir up controversy among women of all ages across the globe, the “Thigh Gap Debate.”
The popular clothing company Urban Outfitters has been accused of promoting the thigh gap in its latest modeling campaign. The model in question shows a prominent gap between her thighs; she also looks exceptionally skinny that a complaint was filed with the UK Advertising Standards to remove the image of “a model with an unhealthy gap.” The complaint said that the model was very much underweight and this could potentially have a very negative impact on young customers. The ASA agreed that the use of a waif-like model was irresponsible, specifically because the company’s target audience is young girls who would be influenced by those images, thinking that this is what they should aspire for, in terms of looking good in Urban Outfitters’ clothing. Urban Outfitters disagreed with this conclusion, stating that using skinny models has always been an industry standard.
Target was also entangled in a thigh gap controversy, but this time involving a massive photoshop failure.
What’s taken this controversy to a whole other level, more so than when anorexic-looking models, or wasted, drugged up-looking models were all the rage, is the fact that today social media instantly brings the latest fads before millions of people. Social media, with all of its advantages, has a way of fueling those obsessions; it becomes something that an entire community talks about and wants to follow.
Skinny models are an industry standard, and the higher the fashion, the skinnier the girls it seems, but the question that we pose is whether it’s moral and ethical to uphold an industry standard when there is a high cost involved. Why should this false ideal of a “perfect thigh gap” continue to rein, when it has proven to promote a negative body image in young girls and encourage them to abuse their body in order to get that manufactured industry look that a company has chosen to promote? Where is the social responsibility here? The fashion world and media, in all of its facets, has a huge impact on how we feel about our body. Many young women, especially girls, envision themselves in those ads, thinking that it’s the look they must aspire to achieve no matter what. Physiologically, achieving the thigh gap means having to drop significant weight, because not everyone is built in such a way that a gap is a guarantee, even when skinny, so when a teen drops weight, this may also affect their skeletal growth.
Beyonce in her very controversial thigh gap photo.
Another important point to note, is that plenty of celebrities have allowed their images on the covers of magazines to be photoshopped, in order to adhere to those idealistic industry standards. Although some have spoken out against this practice, and will not allow such a false image of themselves to ever be published, there are still enough celebrities who don’t give a damn.
1950s pinup girl Marie Mcdonald, no thigh gap whatsoever.
Marilyn Monroe’s beauty will live forever even without the thigh gap.
At ABAD this is how we feel about the debate: although we’re continuously bombarded with unrealistic images of beauty, we strongly encourage each and every one of you to embrace the body that you have. We strive for a healthy existence, but one that has absolutely nothing to do with industry standards of beauty. Neither one of us at has a very skinny body, and yet we have been successfully modeling bathing suits for many different brands that also don’t seem to mind that we are not your typical waif-like models. If enough women embrace this idea of a healthy body instead of a waif-like body, then we think that our voices will be heard, eventually. Something else for you to consider is that when we think of classic beauties, the very women whose images are still relevant today, even though they have long gone—we see beautiful women with bodies that do not adhere to any of our modern-day ideals. This can only mean one thing: a classic beauty is not defined by industry standards one bit, but rather by the voice of the majority. If we turn a blind eye to those manufactured standards of beauty, we will eventually succeed in our plight to include all body types. Only then we would have taken a significant step forward as a human race.