Tween and Teenagers
Thigh Gap Obsession is the Latest Teen Craze in Eating Disorders
Have you heard of the phrase "thigh gap?"
Ugh. You don't want to. Especially if you have daughters. Apparently, it's the latest, practically unattainable goal in the world of eating disorders.
The idea is to be so skinny that when your feet are together, your thighs don't touch. Teens are starving themselves in the hopes of looking like models like Alexa Chung who have achieved this coveted look.
Yes, emaciated models are our teen role models. And social media sites like Twitter and Tumblr are giving teenagers a place to encourage and share tips on this sick obsession. There are even videos on how to obtain your own thigh gap! Didn't girls used to watch videos on how to highlight their hair?!
As a parent, can I cry right now? Don't teen girls get it? Their bodies are GORGEOUS. And they will continue to be gorgeous for many, many years.
The late screenwriter and director Nora Ephron once said,
“Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don't take it off until you're thirty-four.”
You know why? Because age and pregnancies change the body in ways you never thought possible. You can lose all that pregnancy weigh and yet, your body has shifted and suddenly things aren't quite in the same place. It takes a little getting used to. But it's a wonderful trade off... beautiful babies for a slightly altered physique. I'd do it again and again.
But teen girls aren't waiting for nature to take it's course. No, instead they seem intent on destroying their bodies through starvation, purging and laxatives.
Skinny, anorexic legs aren't pretty. Really, they aren't. Aren't chickens proof of that?!
We as mothers need to take the lead in fighting this insanity.
Learn the signs of eating disorders and watch your daughters carefully. Promote a healthy body image. Girls are listening as you critique and insult your own body. Celebrate your daughter's body instead of taking her for an eyebrow wax before she can even read. (Yes, I know of moms who do this.) Encourage healthy passions like sports, art and music, instead of trolling the internet looking for "thinspiration." Don't be afraid to get help. Eating disorders are very, very powerful and it's impossible to fight them alone.
Let's teach our girls to love themselves and their bodies. Because they deserve so much more than a celebrity thigh gap.