Health Magazine

First the Thigh Gap, Now the Bikini Bridge

Posted on the 10 January 2014 by Badgereverglade
Billy Joel - The Bridge

I thought this was terribly clever.

My friend recently posted an article about the new body part thing people are apparently obsessing over: the bikini bridge.

Basically, the bikini bridge, which I prefer to call the “bloomer bridge” and which my fiance has dubbed “the underwear overpass,” is the taut bit of outstretched fabric of your bottoms that your hip bones raise when you lie down, if you’re skinny.

Or, if you’re like me, you just have a monster pelvis. The whole fascination with seeing people’s bones is interesting to me, because I’m big boned. My clavicle stuck out even when I was over 200 lbs. My ribs and hip bones stick out right now, and I’m pretty doughy. I have jokingly called my ankles “mankles” (man ankles) because they’re so wide and bony and sinewy.

I’ve written before about our proclivity, as a culture, to chop up body parts, name them, and assign a value to them:

We name the parts of us we disparage. “I can’t wear these jeans; I have violin hips.” “I can’t show my arms; I have chicken wings.”

…But we give our body parts nicknames in order to label them and throw them away. We want to throw them away, don’t we? We want to dispose of our “thunder thighs” and our “cankles.” We compare our breasts to fruits to mock them; to make them ridiculous; to render them so silly we can laugh and shrug them off.

But this tendency cuts both ways. We mock “cankles” but we revere “thigh gaps” and “bikini bridges.” It’s six in one hand, half dozen in the other, really — we’re objectifying women’s bodies. We’re not seeing them as a whole. We’re not appreciating all the wonderful things they do, but focusing in on a minor, tiny little visual detail. What’s next? Will we develop macro lenses so powerful, and small enough to fit on our iPhones, that we’ll start lusting after certain types or quantities of microorganisms feeding on the bacteria on our skin?

(Of course, men get this too, to a lesser extent. I’ve noticed that the “Apollo’s Belt,” or that v-shape some dudes’ hip bones make, is something men strive for and women fawn over. Same thing with bulging biceps, I guess.)

At the end of the day, I can’t help but laugh at how silly and flimsy these concepts are — but young people, and especially women, are literally risking their lives for them. Anorexia is the most lethal form of mental illness.

Thigh gaps are beautiful. Underwear overpasses are beautiful. Fat thighs are beautiful. Muscular thighs are beautiful. We are all given a number of body parts when we’re born, and there are things written into our DNA that will determine, to a great extent, how they will or can look. I have big bones and the ability to gain weight — both fat and muscle — very easily. My friend is naturally thin, tall, and strong (she certainly has a thigh gap and a bloomer bridge), but has a hard time gaining weight. My fiance has a hard time gaining weight and is very thin, but he also has a ripped upper back and a big bubble butt. These are our bodies, our gifts, perfect in their diversity.

Here’s a thought: replace all those pictures of thigh gaps and bikini bridges with pictures of the whole goddamn woman. There’s a whole body attached to those hip bones. That body has a face, a mind, a language unto its own.

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