July 25, 2013 by Deanna James, LPC, CEDS in Castlewood In the NewsA current trend on social media involves young women taking photos of their bodies as they try to achieve a gap between their thighs. This trend, called the "thigh gap" has many young women crash dieting, excessively exercising and trying to attain a body ideal that simply is unrealistic for most women with a health body weight. This past week St. Louis's NBC affiliate- KSDK shared the story with viewers and interviewed Castlewood Treatment Center's CEO, Nancy Albus regarding the trend. The story was also picked up nationally by The Today Show and USA Today. Ms. Albus shared that "the pursuit of the thigh gap could turn into an eating disorder." She says it's not a NEW issue but social media makes it difficult to shield any teen from the pressure of this nearly impossible body trend. She shared her reaction with us when she first saw the pictures teens were posting.
"It was shocking and very upsetting because I think for most of us, as parents, we have no idea of the sites that our children are going on." She went on to say, "Whether the young person is involved in the pursuit of this or not, having a conversation to talk about the pressures of being thin and achieving a certain ideal would be really important," said Nancy Albus, CEO of Castlewood Treatment Centers.
Ms. Albus suggests talking to your children about how they are influenced by social media, if they've been on sites in which they've seen these types of influences, and to discuss how secure within themselves they feel. These discussion can lead to important conversations between parents and teens as they develop a sense of identity and body image.