Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why I Don't Hate the Thigh Gap

Why don't I hate the Thigh Gap? Because I have one.

I didn't starve myself to get it. I didn't binge and puke. I didn't even go on any sort of diet. I'm just skinny. (Though my thigh gap has gotten smaller since I gained that marriage weight everyone warns you about...)

I understand where everyone is coming from when they get down on the Thigh Gap. It's because we hear of all these girls starving or throwing up to achieve what they think of as beautiful. So what do we do to counteract that? Call it ugly.

What's actually ugly, though, is the disease. Yes, anorexia. Yes, bulimia. Yes, crash-diets. But the ugliest disease is actually...

Beauty Standards. And you're contributing by calling the Thigh Gap ugly.

It doesn't matter if the trend is being thin or having curves because in twenty years, it will change. It's already changing! I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but it's becoming sexier to have curves. We recall images of Marilyn Monroe and other babes from her day who were beautifully voluptuous. We compare those images to images now of people like Megan Fox who are rail-thin, and we say that curves are better.

Can't they both be beautiful? Why do we have to pick and choose what gets to be beautiful? By picking and choosing, you're setting standards that not everyone can meet. And they shouldn't have to meet anything! People should just be!

We get so down on trends like the thigh gap because we want to protect our youth, right? Because in their impressionable years, we don't want them to feel like they need to change themselves to be better. And yet so many of us set standards without even realizing it by saying one way to look is better than another.

And let's consider "healthy is beautiful". So then what about people who are obese or who have eating disorders and are nothing but bones? What about a cancer patient, thin and gray and hairless from chemo? Obesity and eating disorders and cancer are all life-threatening and scary, and the diseases are not pretty, but the person can still be beautiful. How do you think calling any of those things ugly helps the people struggling? Don't worry about enabling. People need to feel accepted as they are. The person may be sick, but they can still be beautiful. So can we also stop saying that healthy is beautiful?

Your words matter. I'm going to share something personal with you. Shortly after I started gaining my "marriage weight", someone said straight to my face, "I just wanted you to know you're getting fat." I went from shocked to angry to incredibly sad and feeling bad about myself. I went home and worked out too much and ended up injuring myself. I started assuming I was no longer pretty. And then I saw someone getting down on the thigh gap today and it hit me in the gut. Will I never be pretty enough?

It's not just teenagers who deal with body image. It's young adults and adults, too. Dang, even little kids. Can we please just make it easier on each other by pointing out each other's beauty? Not how we measure up to standards, but how we are uniquely beautiful. I am beautiful, new weight, thigh-gap, frizzy freaking hair, and all.

My view is this: People are beautiful. Period. Thigh gap or not. Big boobs or small. Tats or no tats. Curves or bones.

Your words matter.

And you're beautiful.

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