I have always been a “skinny bitch,” and my adolescent scrawniness only stretched from puberty into womanhood. As a result, I have no control over the fact that I have a pronounced “thigh gap.” That being said, I hope to settle the score on body shaming of all sorts, because it is damn ridiculous that something so very few of us can control gets scrutinized and gossiped about to the degree that it does.
I had no idea I had a thigh gap until my boyfriend pointed it out to me as I sported bathing suit bottoms. Of course I’d heard the absolute frenzy people had sent themselves over for a “thigh gap” and I thought, how did this become a thing? I once had a large gap between my two front teeth, and that wasn’t alluring or a goal to attain. I was even surprised that I hadn’t noticed before, although jean sizes have long since been too awkward on me for the length-to-width ratio not quite tailoring to my body, so that area was usually covered by dresses or skirts. Regardless, here I had this “thing” that so many people wanted, and I neither cared nor initially noticed.
While I have remained fairly small for most of my life, I also grew so quickly during puberty that I got the battle scars most young women often get during growth spurts—stretch marks. I was diagnosed with a chronic illness in my late teens and gained about ten pounds as a result of medicines and lack of exercise, which then resulted in some cellulite. And quite recently, I was diagnosed with gastroparesis, a chronic illness that causes low motility of the stomach and such symptoms as bloating, nausea, vomiting, and food intolerances. Naturally, this illness has caused some weight loss.
In the end, I suppose what bothers me is that too many times I’ve been told to “eat a sandwich” or that I’m “so lucky to be skinny.” Granted, as I do have a chronic illness that makes eating even on a good day difficult, I think the comments strike me a little bit harder because people just can’t see the nausea, the aversion to foods, or the time spent in the bathroom. Sometimes, I wonder if all they see is a thigh gap and think, “Holy hell, she’s accomplished the highly coveted shallow thing!” Because that’s what it is. Shallow.
There is no scientific reasoning behind a thigh gap being good—or even healthy, for that matter. I should be a prime example, as my health always gets checked as “poor” when visiting the doctor’s office. A thigh gap is nothing. It is actually nothing. People are wishing for a lack of something, just extra space.
I think it’s about high damn time we all step back and stop pressing our bodies up to magnifying glasses just so everyone else can leave a hurtful comment about it. I appreciate that people are beginning to embrace the bigger body types, but you don’t have to bring down the smaller body types along the way. You shouldn’t have to step on someone else to make yourself feel better. A body is a body. It’s a vessel for your soul, your mind, and your heart.
Just like the body is a vessel, it’s a pretty damn good veil to hide other imperfections that may be lying underneath. This isn’t just for physical health problems—it’s also for mental problems such as eating disorders. Don’t tell someone to go eat a sandwich, don’t compare them to a whale—just don’t don’t don’t. Personally, I would love to live in a society where commenting on someone’s weight is completely off the table, but maybe I’m a dreamer. Regardless, it doesn’t hurt to try. You know, we all struggle with something, and the last thing we need to worry about is whether or not our bodies have enough, or too many, gaps.