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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Exeter chapter.

774,901 people have liked the page on Facebook, but what is ‘The Gap’, and do we feel pressured to achieve one? Georgia Posner investigates a worrying trend…

‘The Gap’ is the space between the top of a girl’s thighs, or as it is sadly defined on Urban Dictionary: ‘What you think when you see those hot chicks in bikinis where their thighs don’t touch just below the crotch area’. The aforementioned Facebook page consists of thousands of photographs of very beautiful girls’ backsides and upper thighs, showing off their ‘desirable gaps’.  What makes this trend extremely worrying is not just the leering comments from men, noting their preferred faceless beauties and rating them out of ten – although this kind of behaviour is sadly becoming more commonplace within the confines of the anonymous internet. No, perhaps the more concerning matter is noticing just how many of the photographs have been sent in by the girls themselves, actually asking for the kind of sexualised objectification that is perhaps becoming more and more normal.

(worryingly typical ‘thinspiration’ images)

As part of a panel about feminism in the media at the Advertising Week Europe conference, Alex Blimes, editor of men’s magazine Esquire, admitted that the magazine prints pictures of ‘ornamental’ women, who should be admired in the same way that people look at ‘cool cars’. When faced with shockingly misogynistic attitudes like this, why is it that some women are so keen to perpetuate a male ideal, and is this ‘look’ even acheivable for most women?


Having a gap between your thighs is genetically impossible for most of usaccording to personal trainer Chichi Kix. She notes that ‘the gap’ all depends on how far apart your hip bones are set, and whether or not you’re genetically programmed to accumulate fat there. All that attention on one tiny part of the body and it has no real indication of your fitness; it’s just DNA and pre-determined body shape. This means that some people just can’t achieve the thigh gap, and although of course some girls can be healthy, naturally petite and happen to have a gap in that area, many who do manage it can only get there by making themselves positively skeletal.

However, this information hasn’t stopped the obsession with ‘the gap’ from spreading. A plastic surgery clinic called Lovelite has reported a 240% increase in the number of ‘lipoglaze’ procedures carried out in order to create a thigh gap, a process which involves freezing up fat cells so they ‘die and disappear’, according to the clinic. But girls aren’t just turning to the extreme lengths of cosmetic surgery. For some, starving yourself and excessively exercising is seen as the only way to look desirable- according to leading psychotherapist Robyn Silverman, ‘it doesn’t matter how you get there, just get there’ is the motto of many image-conscious young women.

Possessing the elusive ‘gap’ is glorified throughout the media, and particularly on the internet. There are over 300,000 photographs on Instagram alone, despite its pledge to ban such images, of worryingly thin women with positive messages accompanying them. The fashion world’s new darling Cara Delevingne is lauded as ‘thinspiration’ due to the pronounced gap between her thighs, which even possess its own twitter account- @Cara’sThighGap. The hashtag #tweetyourthighgap has also been trending on twitter, particularly after November’s Victoria’s Secret’s Fashion Show, where it seems having a gap between the thighs is a prerequisite for being an angel. As psychotherapist Kimberly Moffit says, ‘it’s a new benchmark for beauty’. 

Sadly it seems that online groups such as Facebook’s ‘The Gap’ fuels the unhealthy fire. Moffit states ‘it normalises and even glamorises the obsession’. Pressure upon girls to look a certain way is not a new phenomenon. What’s different about the impact of the internet is how widespread it is, how many people can see the images being posted, and the messages behind these pictures. A rude comment that no one would dream of telling you to your face is pretty customary on the internet, or the flip side: girls receiving positive feedback for their ‘self-control’ on pro-anorexia websites, even though the way they got there can be extremely dangerous. However, it is also important to remember that no one person has the same body shape, and that girls who are naturally skinny who may have a space between their thighs shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed of their bodies in any way.

So girls, be so much more than the space between your thighs, or the ‘ornaments’ that some men’s magazines view you as and fill the gaps in your head instead.


Image Credits: fitnesstreats.tumblr.com, zimbio.com, vice.com, thechive.com