Literally, the thigh gap designates the gap (gap) visible, located between the thighs (thigh) when standing with your feet together. To sum up simply: the thighs must not touch each other when you have your legs together, and the greater the gap between them, the better ! It was in the early 2010s that this physical characteristic gradually became a slimming obsession for a large number of young women, ready to do anything to obtain it.
In addition to the fact that the quest for the thigh gap is a slimming obsession with all that this implies in terms of dietary excesses, the problem lies in the fact that it is essentially a story of morphology. Indeed, the existence or not of a gap between the thighs depends partly on the bone structure of the hips (more or less wide) and the shape of the legs (more or less arched), and on the other hand the body type of each – gynoid Or android – and its ability to store fat, rather on the inside of the thighs, or rather on the outside (saddlebags). Which therefore explains that some women, no matter how thin, will never have the coveted thigh gap.
In terms of bone morphology, women who have a wide basin, with femurs naturally far apart, will have an easier time getting a thigh gap. The latter also depends on the constitution of the legs, and in particular the spacing between the knees: some have straight legs, with the femur in line with the tibia, others have the genu varum, namely the knees apart giving bowed legs, and finally others have the genu valgum, with knees that approach each other and give legs in X.
The more the knees tend to touch each other, the more difficult, if not impossible, the thigh gap is to obtain. Conversely, bowed legs have an easier time displaying a thigh gap.
Finally, women who tend to store their fat stores inside the thighs are less prone to thigh gaps than women who store preferentially on the outside of the thighs.
To sum up: a woman with a wide pelvis, with bowed or straight legs, who stores little fat in the inner thighs, is a “candidate” for a thigh gap.
Another one with a narrow pelviswith the knees close together and which stores on the lower body And especially in the inner thighswill probably not have never a thigh gap even when starving.
According to Catherine Grangeard, a psychologist specializing in women’s relationship to their bodies, the first question to ask should be “why do I absolutely want to have a thigh gap?” “. “These young girls think their bodies are like modeling clay or clayand that they could therefore transform it at their convenience”, deciphers the psychologist.
However, when it is not natural, this thigh gap demands extreme thinnesswith all that this implies in terms of health (deficiencies, amenorrhea, osteoporosis, hormonal disorders…), with the one and only goal of obtaining something that we find attractive.
Catherine Grangeard, psychologist: These young girls no longer trust their internal needs for food, and deprive themselves as much as possible in order to lose everything that can be lost to reach this low point, this reveals a real psychological problem, at the image of anorexia nervosa.
But if the obsession with the thigh gap is to blame and to denounce, it must be differentiated from the search that some women have to lose locally in the inner thighs to no longer suffer the consequences of the friction between their legs who touch themselves while walking (burns, irritation, redness, etc.). The approach is then very different: it is no longer a question of having the widest possible gap between the thighs to meet an aesthetic criterion, but of find a solution to a problem that generates pain and impacts the quality of life.
Physical activity is recommended, whether for health or well-being. When you have localized overweight on the lower part of the body (gynoid type), like the majority of women, it is common for the thighs to touch or even be glued to each other. When the mercury rises, the legs become bare and the skin sweatsthe consequences of friction can quickly become very unpleasant, with burning, irritation and severe localized pain. To overcome this phenomenon, the practice of regular physical activity aimed at slim the thighs is recommended.
All endurance sport that requires the legs is indicated: cycling, swimming, running, brisk walking, rowing machine, elliptical trainer, skipping rope… which will allow both to tone the thighs and to tap into fat reserves.
Can be added exercises to do at home, effective for build leg muscles : squats, lunges, knee raises, burpees, leg raises in side lying position…
If it is interesting to solicit the adductorss (inner thigh muscles) to strengthen them, be careful not to make them bulk up, using load-bearing machines found in weight rooms. It is best to work at body weight, with many repetitions.
When the friction of the thighs against each other becomes a real handicap, the ultimate solution remains liposuction. “Localized fat on the thighs is very difficult to dislodge naturally because it is fat that women store in anticipation of pregnancy and breastfeeding,” explains Dr. Éléonore Cohen, plastic surgeon.
Dr. Eléonore Cohen, plastic surgeon: This liposuction of the inner thighs can relieve women who physically suffer from friction between their thighs, but should in no case be performed to create a thigh gap in an already thin patient.
Social networks, with hashtags, challenges and communities, play a potentiating role in all these mass phenomena. “Without being the trigger, these networks are nevertheless responsible for it because they allowamplify a fad : we are no longer alone in front of a delusional obsessionbut we find several hundreds of thousands of people who maintain it with us », Analyzes Catherine Grangeard. No more common-sense argument whatsoever then has any weight: “These young girls no longer listen to anything, their desire is reduced to a community that becomes their whole world”, adds the psychologist.
But social media can also be good remedies for evilsince a huge #bodypositive community has taken over the last few years opposite of these slimming obsessions by advocating self-acceptance and inviting young women to strengthen their self-esteem. Many hashtags have emerged in response to the Tighgap challenge, such as #ThighgapOutOfStyle (the thigh gap is old-fashioned), #ThighgapSuck (the thigh gap sucks) or #ThighgapNever (thigh gap never). From one to the other there is only one step – or rather, one click – but that can be difficult for some people to take.
“The thigh gap fashion, like all slimming obsessions, comes from a problem of identification with women who are not healthy,” explains Catherine Grangeard. The women who wear it are generally catwalk models, whose body mass index (BMI) is around 16, namely classified in thinness by WHO.
Catherine Grangeard psychologist: This questions a lot about the place occupied by women in society, which makes them withdraw into their bodies, as if they thought it was the only thing over which they could have power.
“Why is it so important for them to be perceived as pretty? What’s behind all this? When was their view of themselves disrupted to the point of starvation to create a hollow where usually there is a curve? she asks. By questioning them differently, the specialist tries to get them to step back, for a individual and societal awareness.
In the same way as the eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia) on which they are often likely to lead, slimming obsessions are therefore mental disorders that deserve real care. “Psychological support is recommended, but it should not be centered on the symptom, which is only the manifestation of a much deeper malaise”, sums up the expert.
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