Search "Thigh Gap" on Pinterest and You Might Be Surprised at the Results

It’s almost summertime, which means that literally every magazine targeted at women has a headline on the cover about preparing your “bikini body.”  Back in the day, it might have ended there, with magazines, but now that we have the Internet, there are pretty much an infinite number of places that can tell women how their bodies are supposed to look and how to achieve that.

Sadly, this isn’t limited to celebrity gossip websites – it’s invaded social media, from Tumblr to Instagram.  Even Pinterest, a site I thought was just a place to find really ornately decorated cupcakes and look at wedding dresses, is not immune; if you search the site for “thinspiration”, you get a variety of images – a few actually motivating, some saddening, and some downright disturbing.  In a way, these images you can find on the Internet are potentially more damaging than those in magazines where you can attribute physiques to celebrity trainers and top notch airbrushing.  Images on social media are being posted by regular people, and with people repinning and liking images, it’s easy to feel like trying to achieve a certain body type is something everyone is doing.

Fortunately, if you search for “thinspiration” or “thigh gap” on Pinterest, you also get a warning about eating disorders.  This isn’t the first battle in the fight against eating disorders and it certainly won’t be the last, but it’s nice to see Pinterest taking a step in the right direction.  Previously Tumblr and other sites have banned “pro-ana” tags, but like the mythical Hydra, cut one head off, and more just grow back in its place.

Lately, “thinspiration” and “thigh gap” have been the buzzwords used to promote unhealthy ideas about body image, but if you search for either on Pinterest, you’ll still get results, but there’s a statement cautioning about the dangers of eating disorders and offering information about how to get help.  (It’s interesting that Pinterest hasn’t chosen to ban these tags outright; search Tumblr for the same terms and you get just a PSA; I can see the argument for either side, but I do respect Pinterest’s choice to offer help without censorship.)  Sure, providing a website and a hotline aren’t going to cure every eating disorder, but if this message causes even one person to seek help for an eating disorder, or helps someone realize there’s a difference between a healthy weight and chasing an unrealistic body type, then this message is worth getting out there.

Featured image via

  • Megan Wilson

    I think it’s a great idea to put forward help for eating disorders, as I and many of the people I know (acquaintances, friends, even family) have all been effected by ED’s and it’s took a very personal turn on my life. However I do think people should become more aware of the dangers of eating disorders. Beauty for women over the past decades have become noticeably more pushed forward and pressurized in society and I think everyone should be aware of the malfunctions it gives. Overall articles like this are the minority compared to millions of overpowering trends that go on in society, for example Instagram is becoming more and more of a ‘beauty show off’ where people express their bodies in a way which can cause others to feel (to put it this way) pretty shit about themselves. It can force people to become depressed knowing they don’t have a figure they want and are constantly seeing all over every type of media around them and can often lead to Bulimia, Anorexia, Binging etc. For women who are both underweight and overweight, both wanting to achieve the ‘perfect body’ they should become aware that there is no such thing as a (again to put it this way) ‘perfect -fucking- body’. Body appreciation needs to become the next step in order to save a lot of lives, meaning instead of ‘thinspiration’ and ‘thigh gaps’ should become, well, self love and appreciation of the body you have. Following healthy steps and patience, as well as motivation and positivity and support in order to get the body you want should become the next step to avoid self-harm, both physically and emotionally. Torturing yourself because you want a body like another girls, isn’t the way to go. Embracing yourself is.

  • Bryan Mwangi

    I’m a guy, so I’m sort of preparing for negative backlash, but I’m also a medical student, and whilst I’m totally not promoting the sort of image of women that leads to everyone, us guys included, having such body dysmorphia, constantly comparing ourselves to others and never accepting who we are is ever good enough, I’m also aware of the problems being overweight can cause. There’s a danger when we try and fix one thing that we go too much in the other direction, so I guess I’m here to add the pinch of salt. Yes, being underweight and striving for the thigh gap is dangerous (futile, even, as thigh gaps to an extent are to do with the angle of your femurs on your pelvis no amount of dieting can fix that!), but it’s also important for people who are genuinely overweight to take steps to come down to a healthy weight to avoid a whole host of problems that will plague their old age: high blood pressure, osteoporosis and diabetes.

    TL;DR – Strive for a happy middle!

  • Christine Willson

    I am healthy and I have a gap between my thighs. You can’t ask people to respect all body types while shaming another.

    • Ellie Rose

      They’re not shaming your bodytype; it’s actually the contrary, I think. Just accept yourself. My body type is very curvy; I’m not really fat, but even at the smallest size I’ve achieved, which was a 5, a thigh gap was completely too far off. I was healthy and athletic, and even now that I’m not as active and have gone up a couple of sizes, I know that I can aspire for no more than that. Obsessing over a thigh gap might eventually get me to a size 2 or 0, but my body is not built that way and It would not be right for me. A thigh gap can be attractive (which is where the obsession comes from!) but it’s a very unrealistic expectation for most people.

  • Marina Todd

    People act like “thinspiration” is a bad thing. It’s not meant to shame the overweight. It’s a trend created by people who are in the process of losing weight and just don’t have motivation. To motivate themselves, they look at pictures of what their goal weight is and imagine themselves at that goal weight. It gets them pumped up and inspired to continue working toward losing weight. They want to be healthier and physically fit, and “thinspiration” is just another little nudge for those who find it helpful.

    • Jacqueline Dennis

      “thinspiration” regularly employs techniques of shaming to “convince” people that they should if they have a body aesthetic that differs in any way from the one regularly depicted in the media lose weight or alter themselves. The act of shaming someone into anything will never yield healthy results. Health includes your mental well being as well as your physical well being, Americans often forget about the latter, media literacy and acceptance is the cure.

    • Alyson Ben-Yehuda

      Spoken like someone who hasn’t seen a lot of what passes for thinsporation. I am all about looking at visuals to help you visualize your own goals – I’ve been doing it for all kinds of goals since I was a little kid. But where it becomes a problem is when instead of it being healthy, reasonable ideas it becomes pictures of women who are literally starving to death with captions like “never thin enough” and the like. Thank goodness a movement of those who want to talk about HEALTHY thinspo has arisen and people have taken to calling it “fitspo” – showing images of healthy bodies and not unrealistic and unhealthy goals.

  • Igor D. Fokeev

    Ladies. It’s one thing to try and get in shape, but to go to extreme lengths to get a thigh gap is ridiculous. FYI, most guys don’t give two shits about this ‘thigh gap’, personally (and I’m a skinny dude, always have been) I could not care less if you have one or not. I know plenty of fit girls who do, and who do not…. its genetics, so if you are super critical about reaching your ideal weight, don’t strive for this ‘gap’, strive for a proper BMI.

    Any guy who will reject you for not having this thigh gap is a douchebag, so don’t waste your time. I know a few girls who have eating disorders which lead to other health issues, all fueled by this bullshit that you must look like some photoshopped bimbo on a CK billboard. It’s sad.

    …if you want to get fit and healthy, you must lead a balanced lifestyle. Eat well, exercise (NOT on a fucking treadmill! Go jog a hiking trail), cut down your sugar intake, etc… and most of all, don’t let social stigmas and stupid trends influence you. Influence yourself, you will be much happier in the end.

    • Mariah Fielder

      Thank you I totally agree. =) I think this thigh gap is actually only attainable for skinny women with wide set hips. Next they will tell us we need to have a certain number of inches of side boob or a sexy knee pit. Lol.

    • Sabrina Ohm

      why would you assume that girls who want to have a thigh gap are doing it because of men? Seriously, i get you mean well, but what’s with your entitlement? Our existence is not based on male attention’s, wants or needs!

  • Holly Holmes

    I will never have the thigh gap, and I’m very thin. Even when I had cancer and weighed 95lbs, I was a skeleton, but I didn’t have a thigh gap….. some people’s bodies are simply not made that way. I think it is weird that this has become such a big thing.

  • Glenna Hayes

    I just want to say that talks about thigh gaps in their fitness videos. It isn;t about your size at all, it is about your body and how it is structured. It also talks about how you cannot fix certain spots directly, it is an all over body process. They promote such a healthy loving way to exercise and love your body for what it can do. I seriously love that site. They have 8wk programs for 8$ and dont encourage size/dieting like main stream, the promote healthy over skinny.

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