Trigger warning: The following article mentions eating disorders.
Thigh gaps; we've all seen the hype surrounding them, and some may have said that they wish they had one themselves. For some, it has even gone to a point of a borderline unhealthy obsession. Many obsessions have been so bad to the point where if you searched "thigh gap" on Tumblr, you'll get a message asking if you're okay and giving you the phone number to the National Eating Disorders Association. It's an obsession with thinness that is so unhealthy that it's causing women to seek unrealistic expectations with their bodies, which is then fueled by the never-ending stream of social media that puts the thigh gap on such a high pedestal.
I may not necessarily have any particular right to talk about how unhealthy thigh gaps are because I have a small thigh gap (and really do hate it and want to get rid of it), but when I hear people who don't obsessively talking about wanting one, I start to get worried. What many people don't know is that muscle can be a determining factor when it comes to having a natural thigh gap. Those who do have thigh gaps tend to be weaker in the inner thighs and through other areas that extend north towards the pelvic region.
Not only is a thigh gap generally unhealthy, but it is also unrealistic to achieve if one naturally doesn't have one. Genetics and body structure play the biggest role when it comes to determining whether or not one will have a thigh gap. Most women who don't have thigh gaps don't only have more fat in that area, but also have a bone structure that gives them narrower hips. Many women can only achieve a thigh gap if they're too thin to be considered a healthy weight and there's a lack of muscle in their legs due to restrictive eating and lack of proper nutrition.
Because many women obsess over having a thigh gap but very few women are genetically built to have one, these women tend to relentlessly diet, starve themselves, and even set themselves up for eating disorders, and yet they still cannot achieve a thigh gap in the end. These attempts spiral into unhealthy behaviors that can set dangerous patterns in adulthood. We consume so much media every day, and when younger women see other women in magazines, on television, and on social media with thigh gaps and thinner bodies, they would want to look like them and attempt to do so in unhealthy ways.
In general, self-deprivation is extremely unhealthy, and indulging in such behaviors can develop into life-threatening eating disorders that can negatively affect someone's mood, brain function, heart function, reproductive health, and several other major body systems. There are many cases where the effects can be irreversible, so one has to be extremely careful and think before indulging in these unhealthy behaviors. So before you attempt to get a thigh gap, think of all the extremes people tend to go to and the health risks that come along with them.
... Also, not having a thigh gap means you're one step closer to being a mermaid, and who wouldn't want that?