Opinion

Saturday 12 July 2014

Caitlin McBride: The 'bikini bridge' is the new 'thigh gap'...but in reality, it's just more Instagram competition

Published 09/01/2014|15:59

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You haven't heard of the 'bikini bridge'? It's the new 'thigh gap'. But many of you probably haven't heard of that either.

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That's because the standard of skinniness is changing everyday, as is the language to coincide. Thank you, Instagram.

It refers to the hip bones jutting out when you lay on your sun lounger in a bikini, thus showing the world how concave your stomach is. (The thigh gap is when you legs don't have any fat on the thighs to touch).

Because of social media, we now have more access than ever to the behind-the-scenes nature of celebrities' lives, many of whom are very slim. Many of whom are wealthy, and most of whom are currently on holiday in some exotic location.

Anyone following more than two celebrities on twitter has likely been bombarded with these carefully crafted images of themselves, showing off their best angles to their followers.

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(Kylie Minogue reportedly took 42 images of the same shot of her looking into the sunset before approving the right 'selfie' to be uploaded onto Twitter of her on holidays).

Instagram is like one big fashion show - they're not that skinny, they don't look like that in real life and thanks to countless filters, you can look as good as you want because you control the image.

I'm not saying that the 'bikini bridge' is a bad thing - if it's your natural shape, then it certainly isn't. But it shouldn't be something to aspire to simply because it looks good in a photo.

The culture of competition among profile pictures is putting more and pressure on, let's face it, women to look a certain way; rather than looking your way.

I'm not suggesting unhealthiness on either end of the spectrum, whether it involves over or under-eating or over or under-exercising:-we should simply be promoting health.

I'd be the first to admit that seeing pictures of Olivia Palermo looking like a skinny minnie in a bandeau top and barely there bikini bottoms doesn't make me wish I was in St Bart's soaking up the sun with my 'perfect' figure. But word on the street is Palermo is extremely rigid with her diet, exercises every day and wakes up 5am to star the two-hour process of getting ready for the day ahead.

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That's not the luxury I can afford, neither can the majority of women I know.

We can't compare ourselves to models and celebrities, who are quite literally paid to look good. We're the 'normal' people, who aren't judged by our every move (if you are, you need to get a new circle of friends)

What if someone who was previously overweight dropped to a fit size 12, but when they lay on their sun lounger, their bones don't jut out? They look amazing and are perfectly in proportion. When is enough enough?

That's when psychology comes in - something I am dangerously under qualified to delve into. It's common sense that something like the thigh gap and the bikini bridge doesn't promote a healthy lifestyle - your goal should be health and fitness that suits you, caters to you and makes you feel and look your best.

And I need to start listening to my own advice.

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