Social Media Affects Image as Girls Combat ‘Thigh Gap’


This is a word that has caught on like wildfire in this real-time, social media world. It’s not enough that children are victimized by the mean girls or the old bullies in school. Now, if someone has a weed against your niece or nephew, sibling, child or anyone else, they just start a vitriolic rumor via Facebook or Twitter.

Unfortunately, people are voyeurs by nature and just love watching the train wreck. So, instead of shouting, “MOVE!” People just giggle, snicker and often chime in to be with the cool kids. Image is often attacked first, and that is clear in this story from NYC’s ABC affiliate WPVI.

It seems many eating disorder experts are concerned about an “Internet-fueled trend” that finds young girls and women looking to compete for an idiotic weight-loss goal called the “Thigh Gap.” This means these women become so haggard that their thighs do not touch — even when their feet are together.

“The issue of focusing on a particular body part is very common,” said Claire Mysko, who oversees teen outreach and digital media for the National Eating Disorders Association, an advocacy group. “What is new is these things have taken on a life of their own because of the Internet and social media.”

And that “life” needs to be asphyxiated immediately. Yeah, I said it. I’m a father of a precious little girl, sue me.

Why? It’s just harmless pictures, right? It’s only women trying to lose weight, right? Try on these harrowing statistics from the Cyberbullying Research Center:

  • Over 80 percent of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most popular form of technology and a common medium for cyber bullying
  • About half of young people have experienced some form of cyber bullying, and 10 to 20 percent experience it regularly
  • Mean, hurtful comments and spreading rumors are the most common type of cyber bullying
  • Girls are at least as likely as boys to be cyber bullies or their victims
  • Boys are more likely to be threatened by cyber bullies than girls
  • Cyber bullying affects all races
  • Cyber bullying victims are more likely to have low self esteem and to consider suicide

Body image is no joke, people. Ask my man Brian Cuban who has a great and riveting book on the subject (no plugola…just a fan).

Who’s to blame — entertainment media, tabloids, Hollywood or just browbeating girls in school taking to Twitter with potty mouths? Does it matter? Who can stop it — everyone just mentioned, and everyone reading this.

Oh, and give those girls a hug and a sammich too.


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