Friday, February 28, 2014

Thigh Gaps, Bikini Bridges and the Body Beautiful

It is a full-time job keeping up with the news today. 24/7 outlets maintain a constant chatter. What is going on around my neighborhood, my state, the nation, and around the world makes for a never-ending text, video and audio stream.

Since it is impossible to keep up, I do not try. I scan headlines and get a vague idea of what is happening in my world.

Sometimes I overlook important developments.

A recent trend I initially missed impacts most young women, some middle-aged women, and doubtless only amuses older women.

I missed the latest craze in framing a slim silhouette, a significant body element to check off one’s body image worksheet.

I wrote previously about the thigh gap here, the body image trend of the year for 2013. For those unaware of this figure feature desired by young females, it is an open space between the thighs formed when standing with feet together.

The latest litmus test of the thinspiration body is a term I recently heard for the first time – bikini bridge. It just may be the 2014 body trend of the year.

And remember – you probably heard it here first!

The Urban Dictionary defines the term as follows:

When a girl in a bikini lies down and her hip bones protrude well past their flat stomach causing their bikini bottom to stretch across and gap is formed for a beautiful view of their vaginal front also referred to as hood.

The expression is new, according to my limited research, and actually began as an Internet hoax. I have no idea whether or not this is true, but it seems plausible that this kind of nonsense spreads like wildfire nowadays and people believe without question.

I raised boys, so did not deal with little girls and issues of their changing bodies, skinniness, constant dieting, and body image. But I had plenty of problems dealing with these issues personally since puberty and continuing until the present day. I bet most women deal with these issues sometime during their lives.

The ultra-thin model Twiggy displayed the body du jour during my formative teen years. An assortment of tall, thin, mostly blonde models followed. The feminist movement raged about the negative messages models and skinny celebrities presented to young girls, but over the years and decades not much changed.

The chances of attaining such perfection are slim (pun intended) to none for the overwhelming majority of women.

Standards may not be more difficult to achieve today, but I think the language of perfection is more detailed – thigh gap and bikini bridge being two examples of body image terms unheard of years ago.

The ideal woman’s figure, according to mass media commentary constantly pounded into our brains, embraces skeletal shoulders, small but defined, high busts, a tiny waist, no stomach, narrow hips, no butt, and slim thighs.

Past and present I carry a more zaftig, hourglass figure. No amount of zumba, Pilates, yoga or any combination of diet and exercise will transform me into a slim Jane. At one time we – women of a certain age - wanted to be Jane Fonda-wannabes – tight body, slim, tiny waist, poufy hair, not an ounce of fat hanging anywhere.

Then we grew wise and realized no amount of Jane’s exercise tapes, diets, or anything else was going to transform us into something we were not.

A few teenagers and twenty-somethings are genetically blessed with a thinsational shape. Models and celebrities constantly work at maintaining their body beautiful, as do a few fitness freaks.

The rest of us muddle through life with the body we were born with.

Maybe one day things will change. It would be nice if, in a few years when my granddaughters are teenagers, they are not obsessed with thigh gaps and bikini bridges. Perhaps today’s kids will take a closer look at the young, fresh-faced, smiling, buff Olympians. I doubt any of them sport a thigh gap. Or bikini bridge. And I doubt they care.

The fact that I missed the initial introduction of the bikini bridge concept means I must increase my efforts to keep up with the latest body image trends.

I do not want to miss whatever the next fad may be.

Maybe a lengthy, narrow neck? Sleek cheeks?

Or a wasted waist? Concave stomach? How about curvaceous calves?

I can’t wait…

6 comments:

  1. It sounds horribly.... skinny to me. The thigh gap especially. Where DO you find these tidbits, Meryl? :-)

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  2. I did hear it here first. Thanks for keeping me somewhat up to date, but I am not planning on putting on a bikini any time in the near --or distant-- future.

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  3. Hmmmm, well what we're still dealing with here is scarf gap, when a slit opens up between your hood and your collar, exposing some skin to instant frostbite. Til then I'll just be dreaming about bikinis.

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  4. I've been in the thunder-thigh category all my life, even when in skinny college days when I probably was capable of bikini bridge.
    It took me 44 years, but I've finally created a husband who will look at a svelte young actress and tell me she's too skinny.

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  5. Thigh gap? Sheesh! I've never heard of any of this. I won't be seen in a bathing suit anymore, much less a bikini.

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  6. The only place I get naked these days is in a doctor's examining room! Thigh gaps? How stupid and sexist. No wonder so many girls are anarexic

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