Sitting on the main oval of her conservative Christian high school, she could feel the prickle of the browning turf under her thighs, It’s spikey texture poked uncomfortably into her arse, as the sun tried it’s best to beat down on her from above. Streaks of blistering light were fighting a continual battle with the foliage lining the perimeter of the oval. The goal of said blistering light was for the right to blaze down upon and burn anyone, or anything that wasn’t shaded. Through the dappled light of her vantage point she could keep an eye on everyone, and was unfortunate enough to see all the goings on in the zoo. It was always the same, the popular girls and the popular boys, jostling for position and deciding who liked who this week.
She was under no illusions of any kind about who she was, and also, who she was not and where she fitted in! She wasn’t like the “cool” girls, trying to tan their legs in the hot Queensland sun. She secretly rolled her eyes at them and tore her gaze away before they saw her looking, but not before she saw what they were doing. All sitting in a row looking down at the way that their knees touched and then their legs just seemed to gently curve out and up and they didn’t touch at all anywhere in the middle. Glancing down at her own, she felt the familiar stab of comparison and envy as she surveyed her own pasty white, pork sausage legs. There was no sugar coating it, she knew full well that there was no graceful arc between them. Her BMI was over the normal range and she knew it was! She also knew that her legs touched all the way up, with no gaps in between. What was worse was that they rubbed badly at the top and she often felt sweat trickle down the back of her thighs on hot summer days, especially when they were hot summer, sports days. It didn’t have a “name” except “the gap” and the fact that she didn’t have one put her at odds with the beautiful people.
God, how she hated sport days! She hated them nearly as much as she loathed the the sport lord (AKA the PE teacher – there may have even been a song penned in his honour) It felt like sport day was yet another opportunity for those athletically inclined, and, by virtue of that inclination, superior individuals, to assert their dominance, as if they needed a special day for that! Obviously it also served a duel purpose as it was also an opportunity for the beautiful to wear smaller clothes. In short, it was depressing.
The aforementioned sport lord was her least favourite person and to be perfectly frank, he seemed to loathe her also, not that she could blame him. She did have an attitude when it came to this particular subject, and she used the term “subject” loosely! The sport lord made his grand entrance, jogging down the dirt track towards her prime location. Jogging, why was he jogging? Was this an attempt to inspire? Was this because he liked running so much or was it just to prove that he could? All she knew was that he ran in such an upright fashion that she smirked to herself and wondered how he could be that stiff. She hated the fact that even his hair seemed to just understand how to go straight up and down, flying up and around his face. His shorts were just that little bit too short and his whistle, she was sure, belonged up his arse, instead of in his mouth. “Just run a few laps to warm up” she groaned and thought to herself “what is his problem, can he not tell that it is currently a stifling 33 degrees out here – we ARE warm” and hated him all the more.
She set off around the oval, her boobs bounced painfully and her thighs slapped together with each step she took as she tried to comply with his request. Within minutes the burning began and it wasn’t long after that she could feel the chaffing start. Her thighs felt like they were on fire and she knew that by the end of the day, her thighs would be red raw and bleeding again. This was a weekly ritual – they would heal from the week before, only to be torn to pieces again – but she fought her way through the warm up and pretended that she was fine. It wasn’t until she got home from school in the afternoon and she was able to survey the damage to her torn skin that she decided that she wasn’t going to put herself through his exercises in pain and humiliation anymore. From then on she always skipped PE and she didn’t care what anyone thought about it.
Last night my usual nocturnal meanderings through various news and social sites brought me to a rather tragic place! I wasted 10 minutes of my life reading and then re-reading a really disturbing article that prompted much reminiscing, and consequently, my little trip down memory lane. The article was penned by a self proclaimed dating expert 🤦🏼♀️. Said “expert” touts the wonders of the feminine Thigh Gap and the Pussy Gap. These two things are, according to Pig Man, the pinnacle of feminine beauty and attractiveness. Please forgive me while I pause to vomit and also while I try to reassure myself, once again, that the voice of reason and balance will be louder in the ears of my sons than trash like Pig Man wrote.
As I read that article I was taken back to being my teen self, staring at my pork sausages on the oval that day and I felt a sense of rage at the the information that I was processing. I am so thankful that I married a respectful man. I am so thankful that my sons are respectful young men. However, I am so angered that anyone thinks it is okay write an essay defining feminine beauty and include absolutely not ONE word about her heart, her soul, her passions, her interests and the innate things about her that are so intrinsically “her” that you would know them anywhere. That Pig Man felt compelled to justify his dangerous obsession with a thigh gap and tried to normalise that type of thinking …… well, it just makes me furious.
Women, you gorgeous, amazing humans, do not buy into any kind of bullshit that would try to tell you that you must be a certain way to be beautiful. I raise my middle finger to arsewipes everywhere that would seek to put beauty into a tiny box and say that is the only type of beautiful! Thick thighs, thin thighs, and everything in between, perhaps especially the in-between (see what I did there 🤣) we are all beautiful!
I am 43 years old and in my 43rd year I attained a thigh gap. It’s actually a full leg gap and I seriously don’t care about it!! It really wasn’t worth getting excited over and I hate that it has such an influence over generations of women. What I am more excited over is the broken road that I have walked along and what I have learned on this shadowy path. We never really know strong we are until we have to be and I have had to be. The most valuable lesson that I wish I could magically bestow upon every person that I meet is that you do not have to be a certain anything, size, shape, weight, be able to list certain qualifications, or achievements to be seen as valuable. You are valuable just as you are! If no one else is cheering for you, please know that I am and honestly, learn to clap for yourself!