Plus size model Robyn Lawley penned a wonderful post on The Daily Beast about the dangers of thigh gaps and “thinspiration.” What I especially liked about her post was that she avoided body shaming of any kind while making valid points about how the media, “thinspo,” and thigh gaps can erode the self-esteem and body image of women.
Robyn writes about how disturbing the so-called inspiration has become, “Everywhere online, users are posting aspirational pictures of thigh gaps, used as inspiration for weight loss and dieting. ‘I want the thigh gap. Right now, I could start a fire b/t my thighs,’ one user laments on Pinterest. ‘No goal was ever achieved without thigh gap.'”
Remember Robyn is a successful plus size model who was featured in H&M‘s swimwear campaign. Robyn is celebrated for the body she has, she’s paid to have the body that she has, which is bigger and curvier than standard models, yet that doesn’t mean the world is kind to her. There is still an obsession with thinness and when Robyn’s body (pictured above) was featured on a thinspo blog—it was bashed—her thigh gap was bashed.
She writes, “You can image my surprise when, a year ago, I was featured on a pro “thigh gap” Facebook page. The page displayed an un-retouched photo of me in lingerie. From the photograph, there appeared to be a gap between my thighs. Degrading and humiliating comments followed. I was called too “hefty” to be featured. The word “PIG” was often used to describe my appearance and my thigh gap was said to be not big enough.”
Even though Robyn apparently had a thigh gap, which she says she doesn’t, but it appears that way in the image, because she wasn’t thin enough her body was still the subject of online venom and humiliation.
Her response to being tormented by internet trolls, unhealthily obsessed with thinness was as graceful as ever, “The truth is I couldn’t care less about needing a supposed thigh gap. It’s just another tool of manipulation that other people are trying to use to keep me from loving my body. Why would I want to starve and weaken my natural body size? I’m not saying women who have it naturally are unattractive. But I would have to change my entire frame just to achieve something that seems so trivial.”
Yes. Yes. Yes. That’s the point. It’s not that thigh gaps aren’t beautiful, it’s that not everyone was born to have them. Robyn makes an excellent point when she says she would have to unnaturally change her entire body frame for one ultimately trivial goal. Beauty and aesthetic in fashion change with the trends, is fighting against your natural state really worth that?
The problem has never been that “real women” are tall or skinny or thick or curvy or fat or buxom or muscular, it’s that each person’s body is completely different, each person’s body responds to food, exercise, life, differently so to demand that everyone of us have the same body is literally impossible without harm. Whatever the beauty standard of the moment is some will fall into that and reap the benefits but that doesn’t mean those who don’t should be called “pigs,” or feel less any less than gorgeous.
When I was in high school girls would get made fun of for having thigh gaps because . . . well for no good reason (there is never a good reason) but I remember whispers about how their thighs had been widened because they were not virgins. Ridiculous, I know! Those girls are having the last laugh now but that just goes to show how easily culture can turn on your body and turn you against it by calling it ugly or putting it on pedestal.
At the end of the day we should all be working with our bodies not against them, that’s the only way we’ll ever be able to embrace ourselves and empower women.