Did the Guardian just lead you, too, down a rabbit hole of trying to figure out what "thigh gap" consists of (while eating cranberry muffins)? There are two separate articles on the topic, one for each morning muffin. The second, by Hadley Freeman, notes that girls and women from 14 to 29 have this concern, which may well explain why my own thighs had thus far escaped self-examination. But today's young people are, it appears, too transfixed by their charming bowleggedness or lack thereof to learn how to drive.
Actually, after devoting a minute or two to figuring this out, I'm still not entirely sure what thigh gap consists of. An image search reveals photos of thin women standing with their legs apart, or otherwise posed in ways that put space between their legs, which, well, thin women with their legs spread is lo and behold a popular source of online visuals, but that's about all I can say with confidence on this matter.
As with all such Very Concerned journalism (and I might include this post), there's always the question of, is mentioning the topic at all actually causing harm, alerting people to an "obsession" they'd never have come up with on their own, and wouldn't have heard of if it weren't for some well-meaning intervention? You know, like when someone comes to the middle school to warn the kids against bulimia, and in doing so, gives 10% of the class the idea to vomit after meals to lose weight?
Regardless, Freeman is spot-on as always:
[T]o suggest that there is a dichotomy between having body neuroses and being intellectually stimulated isn't fair and misunderstands the problem here. When I was a teenager in the 90s, I happily read Charlotte Brontë and Chaim Potok novels, but simultaneously became so obsessed with having a flat stomach when I was 14 that I pretty much stopped eating for a decade. Turns out that intellectual pursuits are no guarantee of good mental health. To reduce body obsession to empty-headed narcissism feels like yet another way to criticise women and girls.Indeed. It's a bit like the notion that a sign of female seriousness is a lack of interest in guys, except without the male counterpart (i.e., boys and men aren't thought less serious for liking girls/women). The cultural cliché of the bright girl above all that girly nonsense - think Saffy from "Absolutely Fabulous" or Alex from "Modern Family" - doesn't have much basis in reality.