This is how NOT to talk to women about our bodies [new video claims to debunk the thigh gap, is full of stupid]

by Charlotte on May 29, 2014 · 17 comments

thighgap

In an art house, hermetically sealed both from germs and the passage of time, this conversation happened:

“Yo, did you see the thigh-gap on that chick last night?”

“The what?”

“The big space between her legs! It’s the must-have accessory of the year. All the girls want one.”

“That’s weird.”

“Yeah, I kind of thought so too.”

“And kind of sad.”

“But hey, you know what would really help women feel better about their bodies? If we made a movie that objectified them! And then lopped off their heads! And took away their voices! How better to make them accept their bodies than by showing them that’s all they are? The ladeezzz are going to loooove this!”

“Ooh and let’s film it in that awesome early-70′s porn style! It’s super flattering and we can have a sun setting into the ocean BETWEEN HER LEGS.”

Okay so that may not have been how this ridiculous thigh-gap movie was born but honestly that’s the kindest way I can see this thing coming about. How else would someone have thought “I need to help women feel better about their legs” and come up with THIS?? (Watch the video below at your own peril. I am not responsible for any rage-induced aneurysms.)

The Magic Gap on Nowness.com

Yet it seemed to start from a good place. Destroying the thigh-gap obsession seems like a worthy goal. After all, the little sliver of daylight between some women’s legs has launched a thousand pro-anorexia sites, not to mention a million Pinterest boards and #worthit Instagrams. It’s become just one more unrealistic body standard for women to aspire to, even though whether or not you have one is almost purely genetic. Yet when a recent short film tried to take down the thigh gap, it came up, well, short.

Fashion photographer and director Guy Aroch says he created the film because he wanted to “diffuse” the controversial topic by taking abstracted look at the much-documented thigh-gap obsession. “It was more a comment on the mysterious fixation women have,” he explains, “because as a male, I didn’t even know it was a thing.” 

His ignorance shows, starting right with the title “The Magic Gap”. Has anyone ever called it that? I’ve been in the biz a long time and I’ve yet to hear it placed in the same category with David Blane’s next stunt and the part of the Grand Canyon you can only find at the end of the rainbow. Turning the descriptive “thigh gap” into something magical is not only confusing but elevates it and makes it seem enchanting and desirable. It isn’t magic whether or not you have a thigh gap, but rather a combination of body type, pelvis width and tendon length.

Then there’s the actual movie. The video shows 70′s style pictures of different thigh gaps while asking random people on the street what “the magic gap” is. It’s clear from the get-go that no one has the slightest clue what he’s talking about, which might have been a good point had he stopped there. But the film is basically two minutes of pelvic exams of supermodels, all of whom have very noticeable thigh gaps. Superimposing “a mystical thing where unicorns and rainbows come out” (as one person put it) over a lingering close-up of a young woman’s crotch ends up feeling more like soft porn than empowerment.

In addition to wording problems, Aroch’s filmography is a little gross. There a real creeper vibe to camera angles and the way the viewer follows each woman as she walks and bends over. And then we don’t get to see any other parts of the women. There are no faces or expressions. We don’t even hear their voices. Thigh gaps are all they are, apparently. And since these women are all models – how do you have a supposedly body positive video with absolutely zero body diversity? – their thigh gaps are shown as sexy and glamorous, the exact thing Aroch claims to challenge. (Seriously, can I be reincarnated as Chanel Iman?)

The worst part though is that the film was created as part IV of the #definebeauty project on Nowness which is supposed to show beauty in a whole new light, challenging societal assumptions. While I’ll admit that some of the earlier videos weirded me out at least they made me think, tackling subjects like body hair and beauty as genius. Yet all this video does is perpetuate old body stereotypes while showing how hot models are. (As if we needed that reminder?) This is unfortunate since Aroch had a real opportunity to start a conversation about why this particular feature has become the standard of beauty. Instead he just fetishized it.

On the other hand, this is the perfect example of how not to talk about body confidence.

I’m so so tired of hearing about thigh gaps. I’m not saying they are bad in and of themselves – if you have one naturally then that is awesome and beautiful. But the thigh gap as fashion statement I can do without. Your legs are not an accessory. They’re your legs. Can we move on to something more interesting now? Let’s do tooth gaps! At least that doesn’t involve dieting.

diaper2

No thigh gap here and she couldn’t be cuter!

 

 

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Redhead May 29, 2014 at 4:28 am

It reminded me of one of those American Apparel – pervy, almost porn but while the director insists that it has value. Totally with you (and adorable Jellybean!) on this one.

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Naomi/Dragonmamma May 29, 2014 at 6:00 am

If you hadn’t told me what it was about, I would have thought this was a promo for thigh gap surgery.

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Caitlin May 29, 2014 at 6:00 am

Nothing about that video made any sense to me. He says he’s trying to diffuse the obsession but all I saw was 1:42 of thigh-gap fixation. FAIL.

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JLVerde May 29, 2014 at 6:02 am

It reminded me of news reports about the “obesity epidemic” that always show The Headless Fatty (not to be confused with the Headless Horseman, though if he put on a few pounds I’m sure he’d end up as the visual for one of those news segments).

What really irks, though, is it’s once again a MAN putting in his two cents on how women should look. Yes, he’s trying to say the “right” thing (“thigh gap does not prove your worth”) but it really just comes off as yet another man validating a woman. A male thinks it’s ok for you to not have a thigh gap so then it’s ok. Or worse, making women feel like silly children for worrying their pretty heads over something as silly as thigh gap. That doesn’t sit well with me. At all.

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Laura P. May 29, 2014 at 6:29 am

Yuck! It was a disgusting video. I don’t understand that in this feminist age that women want the thigh gap or the anorexic look or the “perfect” supermodel body. This is so sad.

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Abby May 29, 2014 at 7:41 am

Yeah, gross. I guess this was never my obsession, and I certainly had others, but even when I had clinical anorexia I didn’t give a shit about “thigh gaps”. I’m pretty sure my thighs have been BFFs since the day I was born. Whatevs. I only get annoyed about it when favorite jeans that are still in good shape elsewhere get holes right there. And this has happened to me when I’ve been both underweight and overweight so yup, all genetics.

That is all I have besides to say that your coat in that picture is adorable.

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Darwin May 29, 2014 at 8:24 am

DID NOT WATCH THE VIDEO.

Your description Charlotte, along with those in the comments, was enough for me to know to avoid it!

I guess my only input is to state the obvious that this seems to be made for pervy GUYS.

Following models around and taking pervy shots. (Just described an entire industry.)

Dream job for many a pervy guy.

AND this is under the guise of being helpful!

Akin to: A studio exec saying to Halle Berry, “If you want to win an Oscar you have to take your clothes off!”

Taking advantage of an existing circumstance in a selfish pervy manner.

Or even all the way back to: “The Virgin Sacrifice is later tonight. Perhaps we can think of some way to take you out of the running?”

Creating the problem and then suggesting a pervy solution.

Guys have been trying to cloud their pervy intent under a guise of noble intent for many a century.

Having worked with guys in many types of jobs, they leer at ladies, make lewd comments that you may or may not hear, and slap each other on the back and congratulate each other on their “conquests” (who they sometimes plan on going back to if they cannot find someone else handy)…

And they trade their tricks used for “conquests”.

And if they want an excuse to stay in the lady’s life (go back for more) without any emotional commitment – they poke a hole in the condom.

And they wind up with Katheryn Heigal.(sp)

And Charlotte…I couldn’t help but notice the…er…frosty…weather ensemble.

Is it cold in Colorado?

At 8:23 in the a.m. it is 55 degrees here in the great white north right now…and getting warmer.

Just saying.

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Azusmom May 29, 2014 at 8:41 am

It’s pretty typical, isn’t it? Say one thing while showing the EXACT opposite. It’s like directors who say they want to make a statement against rape, then film a rape scene that looks like something off of Cinemax. It is, in the end, really just an excuse for a lot of these guys to get their jollies while pretending to be socially conscious. They’re basically the same guys who take Women’s Studies classes as a way to “get some.”
Sad.

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Bekky May 29, 2014 at 9:48 am

So he made up a name for a thing that already has a name and we’re supposed to be somehow surprised or impressed that people don’t know what that made up name refers to? And I would say his definition of beauty is pretty clear…

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samc-a-roo May 29, 2014 at 9:52 am

I am unsure I would have gotten thigh gap from the videao, magic gap,really silly.
Also, not sure I would get hte message, it seems promotional to gaps, as others said…

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Nicholle May 29, 2014 at 9:58 am

Please don’t tell him about the “bikini bridge.”

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Gingerzingi June 1, 2014 at 10:39 am

No kidding!

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Heather May 29, 2014 at 8:55 pm

Your thigh gap workout is hilarious! The video though … I watched it before I read and I was just confused. I will never get that 2 minutes back!

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Geosomin May 31, 2014 at 12:04 pm

that photo is absolutely adorable :)

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Gingerzingi June 1, 2014 at 10:39 am

UGH. People can’t even write/film about the fetishization of women’s bodies without fetishizing them! I love every word of this post, Charlotte. Especially: ‘Turning the descriptive “thigh gap” into something magical is not only confusing but elevates it and makes it seem enchanting and desirable.’ Exactly.

p.s.: “filmography” is a list of films connected in some way (like the list of films this person director or produced). “Cinematography” has to do with the art of filming motion pictures, e.g., the visual style—in this case, definitely creeper vibe!

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Macy Rivers June 6, 2014 at 11:59 am

I’m a DIYer who loves to get updated of beauty trends. This blog talks about thigh gaps and I found it not to be an issue, if you got one and if you’re not comfortable with it then I think you can seek a cosmetic help and if you’re not bothered of it then I think you can be great with it. Life is a matter of choice and perspective.

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Jody - Fit at 56 June 30, 2014 at 3:56 pm

This all makes me so sad Charlotte!!!! I am also tired of a lot of the hard core fitspo, not the regular peeps one.. just way too much pressure.

I LOVE YOUR DAUGHTER’S PIC!!!!!!!

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