And while both of those statements may be true, I say - isn’t this another example of women trying to appear more juvenile and/or masculine in order to feel attractive?
Thigh gap is when your thighs don’t touch even when your feet do and women, especially young women and girls, are adding this (the size of their thigh gap) to the list of insecurities and unobtainable “beauty” goals they already endure.
Ugh... it’s really disheartening. There is even a hash tag trending for ‘thigh gap’. I mean c’mon ladies; if not for health or safety, at least take ‘thigh gap’ out of your social media vocabulary because it reveals a serious flaw in your perception of what is attractive.
I really wanted to take a moment to address this and I plan to ask my students about their feelings on it this week. In the recent media attention criticizing thigh gap,–not one professional has addressed what I think is actually the real problem, but what do I know? Why is 'thigh gap' attractive in the first place?
It is NOT attractive. It is NOT feminine. It is one particular shape of one particular body type. Frankly, it's juvenile and it's masculine. Men are the ones with chicken legs - I've got two brothers and a husband to prove it. (I apologize if you have a natural space between your thighs ladies, it's not inherently unattractive - but it's sure as shoot not what makes you beautiful).
I realize the contradiction; ballerinas tend to be very thin and wispy and these are the people we encourage our students to strive to be like. In fact, I admit that many professional ballerinas probably have significant ‘thigh gap’ (if their hips are wide enough). But it wasn’t always like that. Seriously, it wasn’t. And on top of the fact that it wasn’t always like that, I would guess the majority of ballerinas with thigh gap got it from a lot of healthy meals and significantly more dancing than the average bear.
I’ve heard of this magical time in history, though I haven’t experienced it, when magazine ads for body image products promised to help women gain weight, not appear too skinny, and thereby feel attractive.
We, ourselves, young women, not men, and not media distributed by corporate America, are the ones creating yet another impossible beauty standard to achieve and the reason why disappoints me greatly.
Let’s focus on the more important aspects of ballet, and life in general:– our strength, our health, the way we move through space; just to name a few.