I study my hip bones that stick out a little too much, I study my flat stomach, my skinny arms, my bone thin legs and I study my Thigh Gap.
And I remember everything everyone’s ever said to me about my body. These are ‘flattering’. They’re ‘compliments’ and I should accept them with a smile and a polite ‘Thank You’.
“Wow you’re ‘goals’.”
“You’re stomach is so flat!”
“You’re so lucky, you have a ‘Thigh Gap’.”
What is a Thigh Gap? Till I was 15, I had no idea what this was. I was told that it was a measure of how thin you were. If you had a thigh gap, you were skinny. It was as simple as that.
Then I remember all the other comments. The offensive ones that I can’t say anything about because being thin is a blessing. The comments I have to smile for, ignoring the cruel meaning.
“Wow, are you anorexic?”
“You’re like a walking skeleton!”
“Do you even eat?”
“You have no butt.”
“What are you, size double A?”
Once when I was 15 I met a girl who was as thin as me. She looked me up and down, smiled and said, in a voice like honey, “How many times a day do you eat?”
I was confused so I replied that I eat whenever I’m hungry which was usually more that 6 times a day.
She smiled wider and poked my rib with her elbow. “What’s your diet then?”
I told her the truth – that I had never dieted in my life. She looked surprised.
“Well then, how many times do you, you know?” She stuck a finger near her mouth and gagged.
I furrowed my eyebrows and told her I had never done such a thing.
After which, she dropped her sugary smile and chirpy attitude. I noticed her hollow cheeks and bloodshot eyes.
“What’s you’re secret then? You obviously can’t be this thin without doing something to yourself.”
Once again, I look at my body in the mirror and I notice that my stomach has a small pocket of fat that wasn’t there before. I notice that my butt isn’t big enough and that my chest looks small, that my knees are odd, that my collar bones are weird, that my legs are too thin.
That stomach fat needs to go, my butt needs to grow,
my chest size needs to increase, where’s that gap between my knees?
My skin needs to glow, my stomach needs to show.
My lips need to be plump, my thighs should never bump.
My body needs to be hairless, my hair should never be a mess.
That’s when I’ll be ‘perfect’ right? That’s when I’ll be beautiful.
When I’m forever living in the fear that my Thigh Gap will disappear.
A Thigh Gap.
According to me, a Thigh Gap is a social construct made to make women feel unhappy about their bodies. It encourages women to bend towards society’s image of perfect, society’s image of beautiful, with perky breasts, large butts, minuscule waists and Thigh Gaps.
You have a Thigh Gap but a slim body – you’re anorexic. You don’t have a Thigh Gap – you’re fat. Beauty lies on the inside of you not in the inside of your thighs.
I think about this all, and I sigh.
And in that moment, I don’t think there’s another girl in the world who doesn’t want a Thigh Gap more than I don’t.