Thigh Gaps are in the news again. It seems the photo editor at Target made a grievous error by not only removing part of a young girl’s thighs, but her bikini area, as well. This is unfortunate, not only because it looks ridiculous, but also because the fashion industry and media continue to perpetuate this unrealistic ideal that girls are supposed to have a huge gap between their thighs.
Some girls have thin thighs. Others have strong, thick thighs. And many are somewhere in between or beyond. However, advertisements insist that models present the ideal – long thin limbs with space to see between the legs.
This is not a new phenomenon. In my New York modeling agency many moons ago, I saw a photo of girl on a computer screen. The agent was removing what I believe is known as “butt cleavage,” the little chiclets that you can see peak out between thin thighs. Removing scars and pimples is one thing, but body parts are another.
At a recent body image workshop, where many of the young women were athletes, when asked what the greatest issue of the day was, “thigh gaps” was the answer. Seriously? Yes. No matter that we all intellectually know that we are made differently, that the size of our hip bones and body structure factor into whether we will have a gap between our thighs or not, we still compare ourselves to the pictures in the magazines or in advertisements or on billboards or . . .
Teenage girls have enough to worry about as it is. Add in spring break and swimsuit buying, and the stress increases. And what are they supposed to look like in the dressing room at Target? A prepubescent with no meat on her bones or muscles in her thighs.
For some girls, this is what they see. For sure. But for most of us, this just isn’t the case.
And that’s ok. Really it is.
The thin places we should focus on are not between our thighs but in our living. The thin places are where heaven and earth meet, where God is made experiential, transporting us beyond time and space and senses. When we are so caught up with the superficial, we may miss the spiritual. When our energies are devoted to seeking the unrealistic ideal, we may fail to feel the Energy that exists when the veil is removed.
We cannot create thin places anymore than we can create thigh gaps. We must get out of our heads and self-hate and into the state of awareness that there is something greater than ourselves, transforming our very beings, even when our bodies don’t conform to what media calls “beautiful.”
It is my prayer that young women are able to look past the press and see the Spirit – the Spirit that dwells in them and the Spirit that shines in places unexpected. May the obsession with thigh gaps be damned, replaced by expressions of thin places Divine.
Former international fashion model Rev. Sarah Renfro seeks to boost the body image of young women by educating them on the myths of media and focusing on divine within. She also preaches and teaches about marriage and divorce, motherhood, ministry, and mental illness.