Has Thinspiration Gone Too Far?

A plethora of media outlets are expressing concerns over the number of images of thin women (many edited or manipulated) being posted on social media. They’re all asking if thinspiration has gone too far.

There are specific concerns being raised in media outlets that the thinspiration trend of posting images of a ‘Bikini Bridge’  (yep, it’s another new body image tag- that refers to lying down with a camera balanced on your chest, shooting your abs and legs) have gone too far, and could cause body image issues.

The ‘bikini bridge’ term comes from the idea your hip bones stick up enough when lying flat to cause a gap between your tights and abdomen – which you then photograph. But why would this pose or image be singled out – the box gap was the last fad, no doubt there will be another soon, and why is everyone talking about body image issues in relation to social media now?

We love our instagram, twitter and Faceboook accounts, and to be honest the ‘bikini bridge’ images being highlighted right now are harmless relative to many others in cyber space we see on a daily basis.

Many of the images are taken in poses where the body is distorted, giving girls a false impression of what the body really looks like. The ‘bikini bridge’ image for example allows girls to suck in their tummy and photograph their legs at an angle to make them look smaller.

Is it surprising girls are doing this? Not to us.The magazine and fashion industries worldwide were and still are  berated for using stick thin models in fashion imagery for decades. Now women are emulating those images themselves.

The only issue is the one that has always been there – the images are harmful if young women don’t see them for what they are – that is: images of girls sucking their tummies in to distort their proportions so they look thinner –  and they are harmful if young women are looking at the images thinking that is the body they should be aiming for, and their body is therefore not ok.

Many so-called fitness images go much further and have turned into soft-porn, and many are not real.

The images in lingerie taken in bedrooms often take things too far.

A simple search of instagram imagery under ‘hotcchics’ ‘sexygirls’ or ‘fit chics’ will reveal a host of women in lingerie, many with knickers half pulled down, exposed g-strings on all fours, some topless. It’s soft porn, and that’s not good. Social media is not the place for it, and labelling it as fitness is also not right.

We know how hard it is to get a great body, and we know it is even tougher to keep it. Which is why girls should love themselves and respect themselves enough to keep it classy. Nike, Adidas and a host of businesses make awesome fitness gear that makes girls look sexy, and classy. Those images look amazing, as do well-cut swimsuits, with girls in respectable poses. Leave the lingerie shots to the Victoria’s Secret models.

I shudder to think of my six year old daughter one day seeing these images of girls and thinking that because they are on social media, it is somehow acceptable or ok for them to be public.

For generations, women have been concerned with body image.  That focus is not about to change.  Lets put the right images in the right hands. Hot bodies on Instagram? Absolutely, but dressed appropriately. Soft porn needs to go on porn sites, where people know and accept that is what they are there to look at, not fitness sites, or general instagram, twitter or FB accounts.

Soft porn needs to go on porn sites, where people know and accept that is what they are there to look at, not fitness sites

Fitness like life is not a competition with your friends for the best body, but a challenge you set yourself.

Take as many photos of yourself as you like wearing as little as you like, but don’t post them on social media. At worst they could come back to haunt you, at best they could seriously affect another young person’s self-esteem and values.



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Renae Leith-Manos

Editor and Founder of Bondi Beauty

Renae Leith-Manos loves fitness, new beauty products, long chats and long flights. She is at her best when traveling the world writing about luxury hotels and Michelin Star restaurants (www.renaesworld.com.au). She has had a colourful media career as a journalist inmagazines and newspapers, in Australia and Asia. She spends her time writing, cooking, consulting to new businesses, running and working out.

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