"I used to think there was just fat and skinny," a wise girl once told us. "But apparently there's lots of things that can be wrong on your body."
These days, that body insecurity of choice seems to be the size of ones inner thighs -- more specifically, the presence of "thigh gap." Women, but mainly teen girls, are seeking an elusive inch or two between the upper thigh, the kind you can see right through when a Victoria's Secret Angel makes her way down the runway.
The desire for such slim thighs is apparently so strong, the Daily Mail reported on Thursday, that plastic surgeons are seeing a rise in demand for thigh-specific cosmetic procedures. One British cosmetic clinic, LoveLite, told the Daily Mail they've seen a 240 percent rise in demand for procedures like lipoglaze, which freezes up fat cells so they die and disappear.
But not every young girl and her BFF are rushing to the plastic surgeon to achieve thigh gap -- in fact, the thigh gap "trend" may not be one at all. Dr. Robert Murphy, American Society of Plastic Surgeons president-elect, told us that the upper-thigh region "has always been an area on concern."
"So 'heroin chic' has been replaced by thigh gap, huh?" Dr. Murphy mused. For years women have been preoccupied with their thighs, he said, "now it's just getting reinvented under a new title." In fact, he said he hasn't noticed a trend in thigh gap-inspired procedures -- the amount of liposuction procedures done in 2012 sank 1 percent from the year before. ("It's the non-invasive stuff -- the Botox, the fillers, the lasers -- that has survived the fiscal crisis," Dr. Murphy remarked.)
But that doesn't mean the perverse desire for thigh gap hasn't been spreading,particularly through social media channels populated by young women like Tumblr. Yahoo Shine notes that Twitter and Tumblr are filled with posts by women dedicated to achieving legs so skinny they don't touch, not to mention the existence of sites like Mind The Gap.
And what's present in the media certainly drives what kind of bodies -- and what plastic surgery -- people want. "Media visibility puts something forward in a person's mind," said Dr. Murphy, whether it's a desire for big breasts or a flatter stomach. The Daily Mail cites models like Cara Delevingne and Candice Swanepoel as aspiration "thigh gap" examples for younger women (there is a @CarasThighGap Twitter account, as if you had any doubts), and the online world of "thinspiration" is populated with images of fashion models inadvertently flaunting thigh gap.
As Dr. Murphy noted, the compulsion to get the skinny, waif-like look is as old as Kate Moss in Calvin Klein. But these days it has an actual name... and a hashtag.
Read more about the thigh gap trend at Shine.Yahoo.com and click to "The Hunger Blogs," an in-depth look at thinspiration, here.
And now, for some positive body talk...