What is a thigh gap? Parenting on body image issues

In this Sept. 10, 2006, file photo, a thin model walks the runway at the Rosa Cha Spring 2007 fashion show in New York. Experts in eating disorders are concerned about an Internet-fueled trend in which teenage girls and young women pursue an elusive and possibly dangerous weight-loss goal: to become so slender that their thighs don\'t touch even when their feet are together. Some exceptionally thin models have a gap, which is upheld as a beauty achievement on countless websites, blogs and other social media. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff, File)
What is the 'thigh gap?'

Randi Martin | November 15, 2014 12:53 am

WASHINGTON — “Say what?” That was the reaction most adults gave when asked if they know about a “thigh gap.” But for teens — and in some cases, tweens — a thigh gap is the new norm.

“It’s very frustrating,” says teen development specialist and body image expert Robyn Silverman. “Because it is something that is so unattainable for most girls and most women.”

The thigh gap is defined as the space between your inner thighs when you stand with your feet together. And if that doesn’t sound like enough of a nightmare, parents are also dealing with another unhealthy body trend known as the “bikini bridge.”

This body trend is the when bathing suit bottoms are held up by protruding hip bones, rather than the abdomen when lying down.

Bombarded by media — social and commercial — fashion magazines, supermodels and pop stars, many girls have a hard time accepting their own bodies.

For many parents, raising a teen girl who is healthy in her own skin is a challenge. But if faced with this challenge, Silverman says to keep one question in mind: “Are you trying to get your child to be healthy or are you trying to get your child to be thin?”

How do you guide your daughter?

Let us know in the comments section of this story, on Twitter or on the WTOP Facebook page.

Until then, local parenting expert and writer Meghan Leahy offers advice and perspective on parenting — especially when it comes to body image issues.


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