Thigh gap

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A woman with a thigh gap

A thigh gap is a space between the inner thighs of some women when standing upright with feet touching.[1]

In the 21st century, some people in the West have begun to consider the thigh gap a special feature of physical attractiveness and physical fitness in women.[2][3]

In the United States, it was reported that among teenage girls, a gap had become a beauty ideal.[4] Many women have found it difficult to achieve a thigh gap, leading some to resort to extreme dieting[5] or surgery[6] in order to try to obtain it.[7] Critics of the craze have pointed out that the thigh gap is a physiognomic feature natural only for women with a certain type of body shape and bone structure that most women do not have. Experts say[which?] that attempts to attain the unattainable ideal result in problems of self-esteem that can lead to eating disorders.[8]

Origin of the phenomenon[edit]

The thigh gap received widespread news coverage in December 2012 after the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show[9] which featured several models with noticeable thigh gaps. Images of thigh gaps featured in "thinspiration" blogs[10] and across social networking sites.[11]


In 2013, author Camille Hugh published her book The Thigh Gap Hack,[12] and in June 2013 she was interviewed about the book on The Dr. Oz Show.[13] The book was criticized by Lisa Delaney of, who said the book "feeds girls' and women's obsessions with their bodies, promotes thinness at the expense of healthfulness (because of Hugh's disdain of fitness, exercise, muscles, etc.), and promotes flaky, unproven methods for weight/fat loss."[12]

A backlash quickly developed amongst those concerned about the potential negative consequences of the trend. Parenting experts and counselors formed anti-thigh gap movements.[1] The medical community and female-empowerment advocates have also commented critically on the subject,[14] and the U.S. National Eating Disorders Association launched a website to promote healthy body image and attitudes to food and weight.[15]

Australian plus-size model Robyn Lawley criticized the thigh gap trend, denouncing it as "just another tool of manipulation that other people are trying to use to keep me from loving my body".[16] Target Corporation apologized after Cassey Ho discovered[17] that a photo of a model had a photoshopped thigh gap for a girl's bathing suit ad.[18] Old Navy came under criticism by bloggers after a photo of a mannequin wearing women's plus-size jeans on their website appeared to have a small thigh gap placed so that the jeans on the mannequin would look thinner than they would look on an actual person.[19] Old Navy subsequently stated that they do not use any photo-editing techniques to alter the apparent shape of their products, but they do sometimes use pins on clothing to adjust how it fits a mannequin.[19]

Media comment[edit]

The thigh gap has also spawned opinions from newspapers. The Times of India called it "mania".[20] Columnist Kelly Richardson of the Sacramento Bee wrote that "for most people it is next to impossible to attain".[21] In The Observer journalist Rosie Swash called the thigh gap "widespread, harmful and often unachievable".[22] Columnist Hadley Freeman called it the "most extreme body fixation yet".[23] Geneticist Sylvia Pagán Westphal was inspired to write an opinion piece on the thigh gap after her daughter brought the trend to her attention and was appalled by the results of her Google search for the term.[24] San Jose State University sociologist Natalie Boero has attributed the trend to living in a "sexist and sizeist culture"[8] and clinical psychologist Barbara Greenberg has dismissed the trend as a "pipe dream",[8] adding "most women are not built that way to have that space between their thighs".[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Why thigh gap is so important to women". The Times of India. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  2. ^ "'Thigh gap' measuring trend among young women on social media may be encouraging eating disorders: U.S. experts". National Post. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  3. ^ Leboeuf, Céline (30 March 2019). "Anatomy of the Thigh Gap". Feminist Philosophy Quarterly. 5 (1). doi:10.5206/fpq/2019.1.7312. ISSN 2371-2570.
  4. ^ "The Weight of the Heart". The Shriver Report. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  5. ^ "Meisjes hongeren zichzelf uit voor een 'thigh gap'". Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  6. ^ "Explosieve groei cosmetische ingrepen voor Thigh Gap - - Hét online magazine voor vrouwen!". Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  7. ^ "Why Girls Shouldn't Let The Thigh Gap Trend Leave Gaps In Their Self Esteem". 8 November 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  8. ^ a b c "Concern over teen 'thigh gap' weight loss obsession". 6 October 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  9. ^ Barbara Greenberg (11 February 2013). "The Thigh Gap - A Disturbing New Trend Among Teen Girls". HuffPost. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  10. ^ Yandoli, Krystie (2 April 2013). "'Thigh Gap': Students, Experts Talk Body Image And 'Thinspo' Obsession On HuffPost Live (VIDEO)". HuffPost. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  11. ^ "Dangerous obsession over the 'thigh gap' - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana". KPLC. 27 November 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  12. ^ a b Delaney, Lisa (21 August 2013). "Diet Plan Review: Thigh Gap Hack". Spry Living. Retrieved 30 November 2014. Review of Hugh (2013).
  13. ^ "America's Dangerous New Diet Trend: Achieving the Thigh Gap". Mehmet Oz. 21 February 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  14. ^ "'Thigh gap' trend for some young women worries culture watchers". TribLIVE. 10 May 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  15. ^ Siassina, Maria (9 October 2013). "'Thigh gap' trend may be encouraging eating disorders: experts". Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  16. ^ Lawley, Robyn (28 October 2013). "Robin Lawley: 'Why the dangerous thigh gap trend makes me mad'". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  17. ^ Humphrey, Michael (17 April 2014). "A Chat With Cassey Ho: On Target, Thigh Gaps And Health-Body Balance". Forbes. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  18. ^ "Target Apologizes for 'Thigh Gap' Photoshop Fail". ABC News. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
  19. ^ a b Solé, Elise (20 March 2014). "You Too, Old Navy? Thigh Gap Strikes Again". Yahoo. Archived from the original on 14 April 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  20. ^ "Now girls aim for gap between inner thighs!". The Times of India. 28 April 2013. Archived from the original on 8 May 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  21. ^ "Teen Talk: Obsession over 'thigh gaps' leads to unhealthy practices". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  22. ^ Swash, Rosie (13 November 2013). "How the 'thigh gap' became the latest pressure point on a woman's self-image". The Observer. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  23. ^ Freeman, Hadley (4 November 2013). "Ask Hadley: The thigh-gap obsession is not new but it's the most extreme body fixation yet". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  24. ^ Westphal, Sylvia Pagan (4 October 2013). "'Thigh Gap': Reflections On Teenage Girls' Latest Obsession | CommonHealth". Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  25. ^ Campbell, Charlie (1 October 2013). "'Thigh Gap' Latest Goal for Teen Fashion Victims". Time. Retrieved 6 April 2022.