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Why are there trends in body types anyway?

Image via Her Campus

Yeah, you read the title right. Having a thigh gap isn’t as great as you may think, nor is it a sign of good health. My thighs did not touch until my first year of college, and, ironically, it was not because of the freshman ten. I actually lost a few pounds that year and my thighs touching was due to an improvement in health. Even though so many people want the coveted thigh gap, I’d rather have my thighs touch, and here’s why.

For the longest time, I didn’t know what it felt like to feel my thighs rub together, which was partially due to my weight, but was mostly a result of my posture. Throughout high school, my back always slightly hurt. I thought that the cause of my pain was due to the heavy backpack I always carried around, but that wasn’t it. Although my heavily packed bag did not help, most of the pain came from me having incorrect posture. I thought good posture just meant keeping your shoulders back, but I didn’t know that it also meant shifting your hips forward. Once I began walking and standing without arching my lower back, the pain went away, and my thighs lost their gap, which made me a bit upset at the time, but then I realized something.

I had the choice between correct posture, something that took away my constant discomfort plus had other numerous health benefits, or following some stupid trend. Personally, I chose not to have back pain. Now when I have a thigh gap, it comes from losing too much weight. Sure, I can have space between my legs, but I also have to deal with the exposed ribs that come along with my weight loss. No thanks, I don’t want to look like a skeleton, nor do I want my future husband making love to an insecure bag of bones.

The fact that having a thigh gap became a trend proves the immense power of suggestion. Before thigh gaps became a hot topic, not many people looked at them; it was just kind of a feature you either had or you didn’t, and either way you looked fine.

A survey conducted on the “Student Room” asked sixty-five people whether or not they found thigh gaps attractive, and only twenty-eight answered yes. Many comments on the website stated that a thigh gap was not the first thing they noticed and that it was certainly not a dealbreaker. A hilarious comment left by user anmyshamblesxx said, “‘Yeah I really like her but she doesn’t have a thigh gap, so I’m gonna have to pass’ said no guy ever.” According to this “Buzzfeedvideo, that comment was the absolute truth.

The gentlemen in this “Buzzfeed” video unanimously stated that they preferred a beautiful smile over a thigh gap, and such slender legs were not inherently attractive or unattractive. Some participants even brought up health concerns regarding the gap. True, the video only reflects the opinions of a few men—not that anyone should alter their appearance to fit people’s tastes—and it could have been staged, but it makes some valid points, such as some silly fad won’t magically alter people’s preferences, that trends can go away any day and, of course, the health problems.

The craze bugs fitness trainers too. “Fitness Blender” dedicated an entire eight-minute video to discussing thigh gaps, and Cassey Ho of “Blogilates” dedicated a post to it as well. Kelli and Daniel Segars of “Fitness Blender” stated that thigh gaps were harmful to the fitness industry because some trainers create workouts that promise the distance when in reality only some people can have it. A thigh gap is decided by the width of the hips and length of the femur. Although being overweight can make a person’s thighs touch, weight isn’t always the culprit. In the “Fitness Blender” video, Kelli Segars said: “For a person to say ‘I want a thigh gap’ is like me saying ‘I would like to be 6’5.’” Even though the thigh gap is possible for some people, it’s not always the best thing for them to have or aspire to.

Cassey Ho of “Blogilates” shares a different perspective in her web publication titled “Your Thigh Gap’s Not Good Enough FYI.” So now people have to have a certain type of gap? Give her and the rest of the female population a break!

Anyway, Ho has lived life with and without a thigh gap, and when she had slimmer legs, it still wasn’t good enough for some, as evidenced by comments that read: “Why is your [thigh] gap curvy? I want a straight gap” and “No offense but your [thigh] gap is weird, it has waves.” Ho has pretty thick skin from being online for so many years, so the comments didn’t upset her too much. What bothered her was the fact that some individuals think “physical beauty defines happiness.” She has stated in multiple videos that she understands that looks motivate people to start exercising, but that vanity can only take you so far. What kept Ho going was the numerous benefits that working out gave her. Being more fit gave Ho more strength and energy, and that’s what made her stick to her exercise regimen, not looks, not validation from others and certainly not some potentially unhealthy feature.

As I mentioned before starting the article, thigh gaps may have gone out of fashion, because big butts are the dominating trend now. Although this may be healthier since no one has to risk losing too much weight, it still sucks. Why? Because who wants to see their body go in and out of style? No one, because seeing your body type be tossed aside like last month’s shoes has a way of kicking your self-esteem in the nads. You feel like you’re not pretty anymore, when that’s not true, and as I said earlier, trends won’t just automatically change a person’s likes and dislikes. Plus, no amount of glamorizing will make a feature healthy or attainable.

The question remains: thick thighs or thigh gaps? The answer: both look great, pick whatever is better for you and screw the trends, health lasts longer.

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