New “Thinspo” and “Thigh Gap” Craze Promoting Anorexia

Thinspo or Thinsporation: refers to the promotion of the eating disorder anorexia nervosa. Pictures, poems, quotes about being thin.

Today’s society seems to put a lot of pressure on people to look ‘perfect’. Young women seem to have the most pressure to look like the “16” year old girls in magazines. 69% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape.

As a teenage girl I was always wondering when I would finally have the body of those “16” year old girls that I saw on TV. Too bad those actresses are actually 25 year old women pretending to be 16. Needless to day I am still waiting for my figure. Having unrealistic expectations of a woman’s body seems to be the norm and it is getting scarier.

There is a new trend in the ‘dying to be thin’ world and that is the “thigh gap”. If you don’t know what a thigh gap is, it is when a woman’s legs are so skinny that they don’t even touch. This is a terrifying new goal for young women. The human body is not meant to have such skinny legs that they can not touch. I am all for creating goals and obtaining new fitness levels but this is a scary trend.

This is scary because it is so unrealistic. Polly de Mille is an exercise physiologist in New York City. She pointed out that “No dieting or fitness regimen is going to change your bone structure.” A thigh gap is only obtainable through genetically wide hips. However most girls do not know about this.

According to a 10 year study in 2000 conducted by The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders 86% of college age students report onset of eating disorder by age 20. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder.

There is a small light of hope! American Eagle is starting a campaign to not Photoshop their models. Ideally it would be great if every company got on board with this new campaign to show girls that even models have bumps and curves.

So what can solve this epidemic? More emphasis on  eating healthy and exercising daily can really help our young women see their bodies as healthy and be happy with what they have. Instead of focusing on unrealistic goals we should have campaigns promoting loving yourself, good nutrition and exercise.

81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat (Mellin et al., 1991). What do you think should be done to stop our society from hating our bodies?


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