Thigh Gap

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A thigh gap is a space between the inner thighs of women when standing upright with knees touching. A thigh gap has become an aspect of physical attractiveness that has been associated with fragility and femininity. In the United States, it has been reported that among teenage girls, a gap has become a beauty ideal. Achieving a thigh gap is difficult for many women and has led to cases of extreme dieting or even surgery in order to try to obtain it. The thigh gap craze has been criticized as physically unnatural and a mostly unachievable body shape goal and as a cause of eating disorders. –Wikipedia.org

 

I had a conversation with my 12 year old daughter this weekend I thought I would never have.  It went like this…

Me:  Did you have fun swimming today?

Her:  Yes!  We played categories, and had handstand contests.  _____’s mom wore a bikini and she has a thigh gap.  I want a thigh gap.  Just a little one. (said while holding her pointer and thumb a few inches apart.

Me:

Exactly.  How do you respond to this?  I was shocked, mad, sad, then active.

Shocked… I asked her how she even knew about a thigh gap?  (her friend from school) And why she would want a thigh gap? (she doesn’t know.)

Mad… I flipped out.  I told her that having a thigh gap is absolutely ridiculous and she couldn’t be friends with that girl anymore.  I yelled a little about eating disorders and how society is crazy with these ideals.  I preached about how these are just shells and when we die just our soul matters.  I went on and on about her amazing strong body and the things her body can do with or without an effing thigh gap.

Sad…I started crying.  She started crying.  I hugged her and told her how much I loved her and her beautiful body.  How I loved her sweetness and how she always helps others.  I told her that her legs were so strong to help her run fast and play soccer.  I reminded her how pretty her skin and her hair is .  I hugged her little self until my heart felt better.

Active…  Let’s get real-I will never have a thigh gap.  But, I have my own insecurities.  I wish my butt was smaller, and my thighs didn’t rub together.  I wish my boobs looked the way they looked before I carried and fed my children.  I try really hard to not talk about this out loud.  I don’t label foods as good or bad.  I try to not talk about losing weight but about being healthy.   I mean…the bodies in this family are not meant for thigh gaps.  We were not made to run marathons or fall over in the wind.  We are strong, ox-like Pleasant people.  We are built sturdy…we were born to run fast, to carry heavy shit, and to give gigantic hugs.  There is not a thigh gap in our DNA.  We hike mountains and take long walks on the beach, with anti-chafing gel on of course.  (PS- Spray deodorant works well too.) I talked to my husband about it…He was honest with me.  He said while I do use words like  healthy, feel good and not label foods…I still I mention weight.  I still weigh myself and measure my food.  I still get frustrated trying on clothes, and keep a food journal.  She sees that…even though I try so hard to set a healthy example for her, I realize I am not perfect and have some work to do myself.

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The next day, my daughter and I took Toby for a walk around the block, and I brought it up again.  I apologized for being mad and sad and explained to her it was only because I love her so much and think she is the most perfect little girl I have ever seen in my life.  I told her that God made us all to shine in these different amazing ways. I told her the things I really loved about my body.  I have crazy strong abs , nice teeth, and a brain that seriously will not quit.  She told me the things she really loved about hers.  She loves her olive skin, her cute feet, and her heart.  We both love our hazel eyes, how strong our bodies we are.  She did say that she changed her mind and decided she didn’t want a thigh gap anymore.  (But there will always be something…what is next?)

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My girl is just 12 years old.  As she approaches her teenage years I want her to have fun, developing meaningful friendships, passions and hobbies.  Not focus on the space between her thighs.  Gap or no gap.  She is beautiful.  You are beautiful.  Women are beautiful.  <3

Thoughts?  I would love to hear from you.  This is a big issue.  Be kind.  XO

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36 thoughts on “Thigh Gap”

  1. This made me tear up! Having a loving support system and understanding self-acceptance is what will get her through those upcoming teenage years. Someday, I’m sure she’ll have a similar situation with her own daughter and have you to thank 🙂

  2. You nailed our family!! We are not built to be twigs or have gaps!! Even if I would love to have one. It’s not a realistic goal. I already worry for Claire about how her body will be since she is built like me. I don’t want her to have the insecurities I still have today. I have talked with my husband about our health lately and we are trying to do better. Thank you for all the great advice. Question: do you share your weight with hubby?

    1. Bonnie-
      I do share my weight with my husband…but not until recently. Once I figured out that it is really just a number. It doesn’t determine how good I fit into my clothes, if I am a good mom, or an amazing lover. I started to share with him because I need to be in a very open, honest vulnerable place if I am going to tap into my most authentic self. He knows I want to weight 155 again someday. He also knows that today I weigh 168. Now I guess everyone knows that. Its all over the inter-webs. Guess what…I still love my body, my brain, and my heart. My clothes fit, I am an amazing mom and a hell of a lover.

  3. Your daughter is absolutely beautiful! As are you. Thanks for sharing on your blog, your posts always make me smile.

  4. Kacy,
    Tears just welled up! First, because you and I know this struggle so well. Second, because for God’s sake she on ONLY 12, and I feel like my Fana is coming into this shit too! You handled it great. Small feedback, let’s talk . I Love you sister!!

    1. Stacey–
      I’m glad you responded…I wanted to hear feedback from a professional and as my friend. Let’s talk soon, and hopefully it is something I can share here with other readers. Love you!

  5. You are such a great mom… And thigh gaps are dumb! 🙂

    No but seriously, it is sad what young girls and even women will do and sacrifice to try and achieve something like this. I was reading a story the other day of a 20 year old that wanted so badly to be thin that she is now dying because of the damage it has done to her body. Dying! Life is too short and filled with too many wonderful things that God has given us for anyone to be so focused on an outward image that they can’t enjoy living. Yes be heathy, yes be strong, yes treat your body as a temple, but God made us to carry and deliver babies and then take care of those babies and Lord knows that requires chocolate… And wine…. And leaves no time or room for a thigh gap 😉

    Love you! And tell your beautiful sweet girl that she is perfect the way she is!

    1. Genna-
      Thank you for responding…Thigh gaps are just another physical thing. I have a friend with a thigh gap and she wishes she could have my big butt! We as women need to empower one another instead of putting each other down. Celebrating all this beauty we have and show our girls how well we encourage health and compassion. Miss you and love you! XO

  6. I think you reacted perfectly! I hope to goodness that if I ever heard something like that from Hannah I would have moved past the anger part and would have said what you did.
    Our girls are so precious to us. We all strive to be roll models for them amidst our own insecurities and what society has raised us to be as well. You are doing a great job Kacy!!! And your daughter is such a sweetie. Maybe she just wanted to hear those words from you, and you hit the nail on the head! 🙂

    1. Thanks Stephanie! I agree that our words are powerful, but not quite as powerful as our actions. There are times I say one thing and do another. We are the role model for our kids, so we have to keep striving to be the best we can be.

  7. Omg you made me cry as I read your words I see my baby who is only 5 but has already stated this school year “this is not cute mommy” and I can’t imagine a world where she see herself as nothing but the beauty and the kind person she is. Thank you for sharing this .

    1. Hi Daysi! It is so hard as momma’s to see our babies unhappy. Even harder when they don’t see what amazing creatures they are.

  8. Kacy,

    Aarrrrrgggghhhh!!! Societies ideal for women makes me crazy. As a girl that will also not fall over in the wind and has NEVER had a thigh gap it is frustrating to me that we are judged as beautiful by this sort of measurement. I have a strong body, smart mind and other things that are beautiful. I would be described as heavy though. As a mom to a teenager that is a size zero and still doesn’t have a thigh gap because she is athletic and strong I’m here to vote for the normal size beauty. You did right by your daughter. She needs to know that idea is lunacy and not the norm. Plus I believe us sturdy women are a little happier ’cause we aren’t hungry all the time.

    1. Stephanie- Thanks for responding. It is always something, and it is so frustrating. I am happy to be sturdy for the most part. I can handle my shit and that makes me so happy. But it has taken me a long time to get to this place. Prayers for our little girls!

  9. Kacy,
    I’m a “dude”. I came across your post because a friend of mine commented on Facebook & I know your name from yoga. On behalf of all guys I’m sorry if I’ve helped perpetuate an ideal that is less then healthy, fleeting, & surfacy. The truth is I have 3 boys & a stepdaughter who is your daughter’s age. I don’t have a clue how to be a good father figure to her. There’s a lot I simply can’t control and I try too hard to do just that. I probably come across as overbearing & strict. I fear this only sends her into the arms of what I perceive as a shallow peer group made up by a good percentage (not all) of kids who appear to get most anything & everything they want. We can’t afford to keep up with the Jones’ and even if we could I wouldn’t. The want of “stuff” and body image go hand-in-hand I think. It’s a drive to fit in which has at its core a need to be loved & accepted. But that is simply theory. In practice I don’t know what to do & it feels often like I’m just trying to keep up rather then set the pace. That’s why I read your article. I felt like I was peering in to a women’s/girls world & getting to learn something that prepares me. So thanks for posting. You writing about your experience is invaluable.

    1. Josh-
      Thank you so much for weighing in on this issue. I agree that the “stuff” and body image go hand in hand. If we are always just trying to keep up then we are a hamster in a wheel. Setting the pace is the right thing to do, even though it is harder at times. I honestly think guys are more accepting of women’s bodies than other women. I have never felt overweight, heavy, or anything but beautiful around my husband. Or any of the men I dated before he came along. I think it is up to women to lift each other up and support one another. And you sweet men to just keep on loving us no matter what. Thick, thin, skinny, gap/no-gap, big boobs or small.

  10. Kacy,

    I was watching a rather popular TV show last night where a ‘thigh gap’ was also mentioned. I seriously do not recall ever hearing this term in high school or college! I agree with you on the point that there will always be some new term or ideal to live up to for young girls in regards to body image. I guess the best way to respond is to keep building our girls self confidence by reminding them what is important and keeping them involved in activities that support healthy body image. I really do need to watch what I say around my daughter about weight, etc. I forget because she is only 6, but she takes everything in!

    1. Heather-
      Thanks for reading and commenting. I don’t remember ever hearing about a thigh gap until recently also. But there is always something. And there will always be something. XO

  11. I love this story. We’re about 7 years behind you but I fear for the insecurities that pre-teenage-hood brings.

    A year or so ago my (then) 4-5 year old said to me “Momma, I like being skinny” After I mentally freaked out, calmed down, and was able to speak with a calm face and voice again I asked her was “skinny” was.

    “Having skin on.”

    Yeah, we’ve got time.

    1. Jessica-
      Thanks so much for reading and responding. I love your story!! That is so young, precious and innocent. XO

  12. i LOVE you for posting this. I struggle so much with body image. I have two young girls that I pray end up okay. My heart hurts for them as I know it’s going to be brutal to grow up in a social media driven society of unattainable standards. When we are all 89 years old I seriously doubt we will care one bit about the gap in our thighs but rather the gaps in the relationships we wished we would have spent more time on.

    1. Wendy,
      Thank you for reading and commenting first off. We all struggle, and our hope is that our little baby girls do not. They will or they won’t…but they probably will. I pray that mine struggles less. I seriously say that prayer. You are so on point girl…when I am 89 I hope to be doing yoga, bouncing babies on these strong-ass thighs, drinking a bloody Mary and laughing with my best friends. Love you–

    1. Thank you Amanda…for reading, commenting and being an amazing friend. Coming from a real deal elephant journal writer…I am humbled.

  13. I have really enjoyed reading your eloquent and insightful posts.
    What an inspiration to see what you are doing. I always knew that there was a special place that you would occupy in this world. My respect and admiration goes out to you! So hard to coordinate time to get together but a necessity to make it a priority. My little violet would love to meet your daughter and we have done that have the same name!!

  14. Kacy! You’re beautiful and your daughter is precious! You are good, and strong, and kind! I love checking in on your blog posts, but even more, I love being in a yoga class with you. What an inspiration you are, every time! I learn so much from you on my mat and have so, so much more ahead of me. I don’t think I know a single woman who loves her thighs, so, oh well! They get us where we have to go! What would we do without them?! You keep on being you, because that’s what you do best! xo, Lib

    1. Thank you Lib! I really appreciate you reading and commenting. I love having you in class…it is always a joy to see your sweet smile.

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