“Thinspiration” has always been a scary subject online — when unhealthy images and messages proliferated on social networks such as Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram are used to encourage users to be unhealthily thin.
Everywhere online, users are posting aspirational pictures of thigh gaps, used as inspiration for weight loss and dieting. “I want the thigh gap. Right now, I could start a fire b/t my thighs,” one user laments on Pinterest. “No goal was ever achieved without thigh gap.”
The sad reality is that I’ve known about the “thigh gap” since I was 12—and there is nothing about this trend that’s new to me. Watching countless fashion shows as a teenager, I was unfortunately inundated with images of women and girls who had pronounced space between their thighs.
The models’ legs would never come close to touching, even as they stomped down the runway. Staring down at my own thighs, I can safely say that has never been the case for me. I’m now classified as a “plus-size” model in the fashion industry.
You can image my surprise when, a year ago, I was featured on a pro “thigh gap” Facebook page. The page displayed an un-retouched photo of me in lingerie. From the photograph, there appeared to be a gap between my thighs.
Degrading and humiliating comments followed. I was called too “hefty” to be featured. The word “PIG” was often used to describe my appearance and my thigh gap was said to be not big enough. In the end I couldn’t keep silent, and after 900 or so comments about my body, I decided to chime in.
This photograph of Lawley inspired bullying on a Facebook page. (Courtesy Robyn Lawley)