Dear Your Teen:
My daughter just told me that all of her friends have a “thigh gap.” She said this with a longing in her eyes. I cannot understand anything about this new trend. Where did this come from? And how do I help my daughter stay clear of the pressure she feels?
The trend referred to as the “thigh gap” has been around for a while but has recently been fueled by social media websites and fashion shows that prominently display the space between the upper thighs and its virtues.
In actuality, there is nothing healthy or virtuous about this thigh gap. In fact, in an attempt to whittle away at their bodies so that they can join the exclusive club of young women with a thigh gap females often develop eating disorders or other unhealthy habits, such as low self-esteem and body dysmorphia. By encouraging your daughter to celebrate her body for its strengths and abilities, you will help her see her body as something to nourish rather than something to conform to arbitrary aesthetic ideals such as the “thigh gap.”
Talking to your daughter about her body
My best advice to you as a concerned mother is to talk to your teenage daughter about the importance of taking care of the body by both nourishing it and using it for healthy purposes such as activities, thinking, passions, etc. Explain to your daughter that it is atypical to have a thigh gap and, as far as I know, there is nothing beneficial about acquiring one.
Good luck to you. I am glad that your daughter has a mother who is looking out for her.
Dr. Barbara Greenberg is a clinical psychologist with a practice in southern Connecticut. She is the co-creator of TalkingTeenage.com and the author of Teenage as a Second Language. Learn more at DrBarbaraGreenberg.com.