Hopping On My Soap Box
I’ll get off my soap box and be back to normal posts on Monday!
I seriously cannot deal with this …
I wish it was a joke, but it’s not. For about $1,000 you can have a cold laser therapy procedure done to zap a layer of fat on your thighs in an attempt to create the glorious thigh gap that fashion bloggers (and plenty of running bloggers) and their readers are obsessed with.
Personally, the only real benefit I see to this is a decrease in the likelihood that I’ll chafe in my running shorts.
I mean, I subscribe to the philosophy that people should do whatever they want with their bodies, but this is kind of silly. I guess 10 years down the line it will be considered normal along the lines of breast enhancements (aka boob jobs) and butt implants.
Wait, are butt implants normal? Or do I just think they are because I seriously consider getting them every time I sit in a hard seat?
In thinking about the thigh gap and the way that social media/blogs can influence the female standard of beauty, particularly with young women and teens, I couldn’t help but think back to my own impressionable days.
In my middle school and high school years Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Jessica Simpson graced the covers of every glossy magazine.
Now, I consider myself to be a smart person and think I was even back then. I was a (mostly) straight-A student (stupid math classes), honor society member, on the academic team, etc. Basically I was a nerd but I had a shopping habit which meant I usually dressed nice. Not that nerds don’t dress nice… I digress.
I was hardcore Team Britney and pretty much idolized her and her stomach. I thought that by simply eating less food I could achieve what she had. In hindsight, she obviously worked out very hard for that stomach, but at the time I didn’t consider that at all because no one in my family really thought too much about going to the gym.
The other night I spiraled down a rabbit hole on YouTube watching old music videos. In the “Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” video Britney’s body is just ridiculous. I wish she had talked more about her workouts so that young girls, like myself, would be inspired to get fit instead of just skinny.
I believe at the time Britney said she weighed something like 125lbs, and I can assure you neither at 125 nor any weight lower did I ever have a stomach that looked like hers through my restrictive diet.
While I was spiraling down the music video rabbit hole I came across Jessica Simpsons, “The Sweetest Sin” video and couldn’t help but notice that it’s basically softcore porn for teens (in the mostly pre-Internet era)! At the time I was in love with Justin Timberlake, but today I can appreciate all that is Nick Lachey’s body. Whoa. I digress again! Damn you Nick Lachey, I shake my first at you for getting me off track!
In thinking about my own experience with Britney and wishing she had talked about her fitness routine, I can’t help but wonder what responsibility bloggers have to disclose the truth about how they achieve their look.
Obviously as a running blogger I talk about my workouts a lot, as one would expect. Most running and fitness bloggers do, it’s just the nature of the business. But what about fashion and lifestyle bloggers?
There is one lifestyle blogger in particular that I like to read every once in a while: the Londoner. Rosie at the Londoner has legs for days that many women seem to envy — including the thigh gap.
(Image Credit: the Londoner)
The Londoner has readers of all ages, but judging by her comments section, a lot of them are younger. I’ve seen comments in the past where readers have said that everyone in their middle or high school loves reading her blog and want to look like her, travel like her, shop like her, be like her. This is very similar to how I felt about Britney in my younger days.
Rosie never blogs about her workout regime, and constantly posts pictures of delicious looking and often fatty foods that she supposedly eats. While I respect that she can do whatever she damn well pleases on her own blog, it might be nice to casually mention every once in a while that she hits the gym or goes for a run… provided that she does. I understand that some women are naturally slim, but Rosie’s older pictures suggest that this is not the case for her. I’m not body shaming Rosie, I’m just using it to make a point.
I don’t mean to pick on The Londoner specifically since I do enjoy her blog, it’s just one that comes to mind since I don’t read a lot of lifestyle or fashion blogs.
In the same vein, I think bloggers should carefully consider how much they use photoshop on their own pictures. As a reader I love the beautiful photographs that many bloggers post, and am conscious of the fact that many times part of the photos will be enhanced. Between lighting and color correction, it just is what it is and I appreciate it.
However, I have come to understand that some bloggers will also photoshop themselves the way magazine covers or brands will edit a model’s looks — you know, enhanced cheekbones, thinner waistline, thigh gap. I find that to be incredibly frustrating because I love blogs that are authentic and authenticity begins with the blogger. To some extent, I think it is owed to the reader, particularly when it comes to lifestyle and fitness blogs.
And just to get back to the thigh gap for one last soap-box-esque moment: it’s just not possible for many women to achieve this naturally. Women who possess the thigh gap have the correct hip bone structure for this look.
“No dieting or fitness regimen is going to change your bone structure. You can’t control your hip size” says Polly De Mille, an exercise physiologist in NYC. Vonda Wright, MD, adds “unless you’re genetically wide-hipped, you shouldn’t have a gap.”
I’m personally skeptical that even the cold laser procedure can give you a thigh gap since it simply removes a layer of fat from the inner thigh. At my very lowest weight I would have needed to stand at just the right angle and position my legs just so in order to achieve the thigh gap look temporarily for a picture.
If you’re in the mood for a laugh, check out the You Did Not Eat That instagram account. It shares pictures from thigh-gappy bloggers that are constantly taking selfies with food.
Now, quite frankly, after a long run I KNOW how much I am capable of eating… more than likely every single cookie in that box and then some. However, the account was started because the owner, who works in the fashion industry, noticed an interesting trend:
“A month ago I saw dozens of bloggers swarming a dessert table, taking pictures and spending five minutes merchandizing the sunglasses next to the macaroons. Then they walked away and nothing was eaten. It was so contrived!”
Well, I guess you can’t have a thigh gap if you eat a box of cookies. Or, you know, if you don’t have the right bone structure.
I would never place the blame on bloggers (or celebrities) for making anyone act in a specific way, but there’s no doubt in my mind that they help influence and shape the way we think.
What is your opinion? Do bloggers have a responsibility to be authentic with their readers? Or disclose that the blog is fictional in some way if not?
(For additional reading, check out Ali’s post, “When I had a thigh gap.“)