Ever heard of a thigh gap?
I hadn't until scrolling through my Twitter feed and seeing a picture retweeted of an unhealthy looking girl, with an unseemly space between her thighs, and a caption reading, "thigh gap, I wish #perfect."
Immediately, I was alarmed – was this the new standard of beauty? Quickly googling the term "thigh gap," I found this was not an isolated incident – girls everywhere were aspiring to become skinny enough to live up to this abnormal standard.
Whole Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Pinterest boards and even blogs have been devoted to the thigh gap "thinspiration" trend.
Just last week, "plus-sized" model Robyn Lawley, spoke out about a picture of hers which was criticized across the Internet for not having a big enough thigh gap. She responded to her critics with a statement denouncing the thigh gap and promoting more healthy body images in the media, as well as in our own minds.
Weighing in at a little more than 100 pounds, I've always been skinny. My friends – whom I love to death – sometimes even tend to complain about how thin I am in comparison to them.
From my early high school days, I have consistently been asked if I eat, how much I eat and if I'd like another serving of food (no thanks, I'm actually full, not starving myself).
My own father even asked me once if I had an eating disorder because he thought I looked thinner than usual, even though I had just eaten a huge dinner with him the week before. I ate normally and exercised somewhat regularly, but I felt like I wasn't normal – too small, too short, too thin.
Even as a society-proclaimed "thin person," I have body image issues too.
Pants don't always fit me – perfect in the legs but too loose in the waist. I can't pull off certain styles (I'm looking at you strapless dresses) and I have occasionally been mistaken for a 16-year-old because of my size.
Being skinny does not automatically mean the end of all of your problems.
Almost everyone seems to have this different idealized version of themselves in their mind – a perfect weight, height, skin tone, etc. Nobody is ever happy with what they have. There is a constant striving towards a different, more ideal and, might I even say, "normal" versions of ourselves.
But the thing is, beauty should not be normalized. Defining a standard of normal for beauty is like trying to say everyone should also have the exact same major or car or cell phone. It's silly and unrealistic.
We've ascribed to this notion of "normal" since the early days of middle school, when we all got braces to straighten our teeth and took acne medication to clear up our skin.
Based on pure genetics alone, it's impossible for everyone to be able to be the same size and look the same. The genes we inherit from our parents determine what we are going to look like for the rest of our lives. Though there are things we can do to somewhat change our appearance, for the most part we're pretty much stuck with the way we look.
Wash away this unattainable, perfect image of yourself in your head, whether it involves thigh gaps, straight hair or bigger muscles. Replace it with another image: yourself exactly as you are right now.
If we all looked "normal," how boring would that be?
Victoria Knight is a senior in microbiology. She can be reached at email@example.com.