Every single woman you meet will probably have some sort of issue with at least one part of their body. They pinch at the skin on their arms, legs or stomachs, complain about the size of their bum or their boobs. Too many women and girls have crippling body image issues. Some believe it defines their self worth, believing that the size of their thighs makes them inferior to the model on a billboard in New York who starves herself to feed her bank account.
Recently, a link popped up on my Facebook feed as I scrolled down, like I do most days. The title: ‘This Is How You Can Dispose Of Your Gruesome Inner Thigh Fat Within 2 Weeks’.
This link was just one example of many similar, equally damaging messages spread around social media, magazines, newspapers, television, adverts… you name it.
What’s wrong with it?
‘Gruesome Inner Thigh Fat’
Firstly, the link describes inner thigh fat as ‘gruesome’. This adjective is stronger and more visual than ‘unwanted’ or ‘unattractive’. The headline also brings to attention one body part where fat is usually quite heavily stored and almost impossible to shift – especially since you cannot spot train fat loss.
Thigh fat is not only something that all women have, but it is a natural feature of a woman’s body. Describing something natural as ‘Gruesome’ not only emphasises the much desired ‘thigh gap’ but affects every single woman who sees that written down. This is a feature of a woman’s body where it’s very existence is should not be described as ‘gruesome’.
‘Within 2 Weeks’
This phrase evokes a sense of urgency. Not only is it ‘gruesome’ but it needs to be dealt with fast. Or else what? Will your self worth descend into nothingness? Will no one ever find you attractive ever again?
The use of these pronouns speaks to anyone reading the headline. It assumes that the ‘gruesome inner thigh fat’ is there. No questions asked. If you’re reading this, you’ve got it.
This sounds as though it can be simply scooped up and dumped into a rubbish bin. It makes it sound as though all of it needs to go. You shouldn’t have any kind of fat there at all. You don’t want to reduce it, you want to dispose of it.
The before and after images
This directly shows women what they ‘should’ look like. If they look anything like the image where the thighs are slightly bigger, that’s wrong or ugly, according to the headline. It can even be argued that the images where the woman has larger thighs are more attractive than the comparison. Note the unnecessary image of DNA.
These links and images are all over the internet and as a result, affect women every single day. Even if they don’t acknowledge it, it will seep into their sub-consciousness. It increases anxiety, promotes unhealthy habits and enforces the idea that women need to look good. This specific standard of beauty is impossible and attacks every single woman who has ever worried about their body. It attacks a natural and often beautiful part of a woman’s body and calls it ugly. The repetitive onslaught of this kind of message means that so many woman will look in the mirror every day and despair at any inch of fat that they can so much as pinch.
The effect of this is not speculation. The results can be seen first hand if you simply take to twitter and type anything into the search bar along the lines of ‘thigh fat’ or ‘collar bones’ or ‘thinspo’. The direct results will be full of women and girls aspiring to images of dangerously skinny looking bodies. Already tiny women are forced into thinking that they’re still not as small as they should be.
As the link discussed is only one example of many, it is unsurprising that so many women suffer anxiety about their bodies, seeing their natural, healthy bodies as ‘gruesome’ in the eyes of the media. To be constantly bombarded with images of the ‘perfect body’ will inevitably cause so many women to truly believe that they are not beautiful unless they look like a runway model.