Is Your Toblerone Tunnel the Right Shape?
I remember one of my mom's friends saying something that sounded dramatic at a dinner party when I was little. “A woman with beautiful legs has three diamonds,” she said, referring to idealized gaps formed when a woman stands with her legs together. According to this theory of beauty, you should have one long diamond that spans from your ankles to your knees, another from your knees to the thighs, and another one - a small gap - between your upper thighs. I had spindly, skinny legs at the time and felt an immense amount of pressure to be curvy in all the right places. Then, once I became curvier in college, I wanted to be a stick again. Can we ever win?
Recently, thigh-shape ideals (thighdeals?) have shifted each bikini season. And with each shift, women have gone great (often painful and dangerous) lengths to achieve the look.
The term thigh gap, coined in 2013 by author Camille Hugh, refers to a wide space, as opposed to three smaller ones, created when a woman stands with her feet touching. The gap, seen on bikini models at the Victoria's Secret runway show, creates the illusion of thinner, more sculpted legs.
Next came thighbrows, lines on the top of your thighs that appear when you sit, kneel, or bend forward. They were popularized when celebrities like Beyoncé and Khloé Kardashian wore high-cut swimsuits (remember the frong?) showing off the normally covered area. These lines make your thighs and butt appear more toned.
This week, the Toblerone Tunnel has taken over social media. It refers to a specific type of equilateral triangular thigh gap that makes the thighs seem slim and the butt appear firm and elevated. Basically, you can slide a bar on Toblerone through the gap without touching skin. Emily Ratajkowski and Kylie Jenner have the coveted tunnel.
Women are turning to trainers and surgeons to widen the gap between their inner thighs, creating the equilateral triangle shape of nougat-based chocolate candy from Switzerland.
All of these beauty ideals are reminiscent of my mom's friend's remark. Where's the line between healthy fitness goals and dangerously unrealistic body ideals?
Here are the various ways women are trying to mind their gap.
A non-invasive option, this radio-frequency technique relies on infrared light energy, a vacuum and massage to reduce the circumference of thighs.
2. Thigh Lift
This cosmetic procedure involves narrowing the upper thigh through liposuction to minimize the fat in that area. To hide evidence of surgery, surgeons typically try to hide the scar along the bikini line.
3. Bar Method
This ballet-barre fitness class is not new, but the "Diamond Shape" move is. Here's how: Stand in front of a parallel bar or chair, keep knees together and bend forward as if sitting. Rise up on your toes as if you're wearing high heels. Push your hips up and out, leaning back and straightening your spine, all the while staying on your toes. Hold. (Ouch, right? But it's supposed to target and flatten your thighs.)
So, guys, what do you think of this body image trend?
*Note: We originally reported this story when "thigh gap" became popular. We are re-running the story to include new ideals.
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