Forget The ‘Thigh Gap’ — We’re Here For ‘Mermaid Thighs’

by Erika W. Smith

If you’re a woman who exists in the world, you’re probably aware of society’s obsession with the “thigh gap.” In case you aren’t, we’re sorry to fill you in: the “thigh gap” is the space that some thin women have between their thighs when they’re standing with their knees together. It’s presented as a highly covetable beauty ideal, especially over the past several years, and it’s heavily featured on pro-eating disorder “thinspiration” blogs. The thigh gap is so harmful that some social media sites, including Instagram, have banned the hashtag #thighgap — but the image is still inescapable.

unnamed copy copy copy copyA look at the #thighgab hashtag on Instagram (#thighgap is banned)

Now, some women are fighting against the “thigh gap” obsession with a new hashtag: #mermaidthighs. It celebrates thighs that touch, comparing the look to a mermaid’s fin.

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It seems like the trend may have been kicked off in part by this graphic by Emma Jewell of, which is being widely shared in the hashtag.


We’re especially loving the women who are showing off their mermaid leggings! (We want some!!)

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And here are just a few more of the many body positive “mermaid thigh” pics women are sharing on Instagram:


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Because I know we’ll be getting comments about it, let me make something clear: Celebrating “mermaid thighs” is not “skinny shaming.” It’s reclaiming the very body part that society is trying to force women to hate and be ashamed of — thighs that touch. It’s showing that a “thigh gap” is not the only way to be beautiful or confident or happy.

It’s showing that all bodies can be beautiful — and we want to be part of that world.

Little Mermaid

Top image:

This post was published on August 22, 2016

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