In the past few month, I’ve heard about the thigh gap diet and a series of asinine comments from the CEO of Lulelemon about women’s thighs being a problem for his clothes. My gut response has ranged from “Fuck you! Who do you think you are?” to “Please, God! Don’t let this be happening again.” But, generally, I just stay angry about the ridiculousness of the situation.
It may seem silly. Who cares what some idiot said in an interview, right? Well, I wish that is all it was, but let me explain. There are those of us who suffer from an eating disorder, have recovered from an eating disorder, treat those with eating disorders or some combination there of. In our world, the “thigh gap” as a measure of thinness is not new. It has been around for decades now, especially among the “pro-ana” set. (Pro-ana refers to those who promote anorexia as a lifestyle.) It has been one of the many “body checks” that people with eating disorders use to determine if they are thin enough that day.
To set an eating disorder behavior as a standard of beauty? It’s beyond unacceptable! Do they not understand what they are asking of women?
First, they are setting up half the population to continually fail at being acceptable to society. The thigh gap is nearly impossible to achieve, regardless of weight. The real kicker is that it requires that a woman’s hips be wider than average! We are screwed either way! Either our hips are too wider or our thighs touch? What the hell? We can’t win!!
People with eating disorders routinely set themselves up to fail. I know. I’ve recovered from one. Part of the belief system is that you can never be good enough, so you just play out the failure over and over again, affirming those negative beliefs. Now, in a very targeted and specific way, our own culture has told us that we are not good enough, ever.
And second, this nonsense is delegitimizing the terror and horror that comes with eating disorders, and creating an environment that further supports eating disorders. Great job…Those of us who have or have recovered from eating disorders can attest to how time consuming, depressing, and overwhelming body checking can be. As I said before, with an eating disorder, you fail again and again. And every single time you fail, it feels like the worst thing that has ever happened to you. It’s every disappointment, every loss, every bad thing in your life is played out in that moment.
I wish I had a better way to explain what happens for someone with an ED. All the behaviors, from restricting to purging to everything is between, are designed to relieve a paralyzing anxiety; but in the end, it only makes it worse.
Now, the media and clothing line CEOs want to set one of those behaviors up as”normal”? Well, fuck them. They have no right to take advantage of the insecurities and vulnerabilities of women, as a whole.
I can only hope that the women of American will see this nonsense for what it is and tell the media and anyone else promoting it to fuck off too.