Cut the crap with the gap

Marisa Gartland

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There’s a hashtag that, if searched in certain social media engines such as Instagram and Tumblr, triggers a warning message to pop up on the screen.

The warning message prompts the reader for the graphic images ahead and urges them to seek help for any eating disorder that he or she may have, or know of someone else having. The hashtag is none other than the infamous #thighgap – really, try searching it yourself.

The thigh gap is a new (and absurd) standard of beauty spawned from the Internet, referring to a woman’s inner thighs not touching when her feet are put together. It’s a hashtag with over

75,000 posts on Instagram alone, and some of the images are really disturbing – the text posts aren’t much better.

They say things like “when you want to eat, just think: feet together, thighs apart” and “the day I’ll be truly happy will be the day when my thighs don’t touch.” Not only are these statements ludicrous, they’re extremely dangerous. No person, man or woman, should base their sole happiness or, more importantly, their decision to eat based on an unorthodox standard.

Anyone promoting such behavior should be ashamed of themselves.

Target recently underwent an Internet scandal after photos from their new swim line were posted on their website. The guy in charge of retouching the photos not only edited a wider gap between the models’ thighs, but completely forgot to finish editing the gap, erasing up into the models’ pelvises. Are you kidding me?

Now I am by no means a big person, in any sense of the word. I’m barely a tad over 5’1, and I clock in at a whopping 105 pounds. I always end up with the middle seat in a full car because I’m the only one who can fit, and I have better luck finding pants that fit me while thrifting if I check the juvenile department.

My thighs touch. They are the best of friends, and never rub each other the wrong way.

I can’t really get much smaller. So what does this mean for me? That my glorious anti-gap may never feel a summer’s breeze between my ham hocks? That my anatomy has cursed me to listen in anguish to the thunder of my thighs forever?

Potentially, yes. Your anatomy and posture actually have more to do with your thigh gap than one would think. Wider set hips can tender a thigh gap to even a heavier-set lady, while narrow hips (like mine) can make it nearly impossible to achieve a thigh gap without seriously and detrimentally altering your body. As far as posture, simply type in ‘thigh gap’ to Google and one of the first links is a six part WikiHow on how to get a thigh gap. Just stick out your butt, straighten your legs, bend forward a little and – voila! – instant thigh gap.

Everyone is self-conscious about something, and it is completely normal to have insecurities about your body, or parts you want to change. However, there are much healthier methods to achieving your body-image goals than engaging in self-harm; proper exercise and healthy eating habits go a long way.

Besides, if your thighs touch, you’re just one step closer to being a real-life mermaid, so who’s the real winner here?

If you or someone you know is coping with an eating disorder, there are free, completely private sessions with a personal counselor available on campus via the Personal Counseling Center. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 812-941-2244, email micday @ius.edu or visit IUS.edu/personalcounseling.