Ribcage Bragging Is the New Thigh Gap, and It's a Concerning Trend

© Startraks Photo/REX/Shutterstock
© Startraks Photo/REX/Shutterstock
Photo of Jill Di Donato
Fashion Editor12 May 2017

Ribcage bragging is trending on Instagram, and this alarming new body fad is sending women a disconcerting message. What is ribcage bragging? Daily Mail coined the term after celebrities began posting bikini photos of themselves on Instagram that clearly flaunt a protruding ribcage.

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Back in 2013, model Robyn Lawley posted a picture on Facebook where her thighs were touching. According to The Guardian, Lawley’s post was met with a deluge of negative comments, shaming her for not having space between her thighs. And so, the “thigh gap” became popular as a term. Even though Lawley publicly spoke out against her detractors, it was too late: a new way to make women feel shameful or desired by the size of their bodies had taken shape in the collective consciousness. Someone even created a Twitter account devoted to model Cara Delevingne’s thigh gap.

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The question becomes, who is responsible for these types of “thinspiration” trends? Is it the celebrities who post these pictures well-aware of their influencer-status? Or media outlets like Daily Mail for coining this type of lexicon? Or is the problem much more complicated, and tied up in a beauty industry that makes billions off the insecurities of women seeking solutions in products and procedures designed to fix them?

Of course, not everyone is buying the “ribcage bragging” hype:

Certainly, there are body positive trends, like “mermaid thighs,” aka the anti-thigh gap, and plenty of Instagram stars who share body positive messages. So, in the end, it becomes your personal responsibility to decide what trends affect your self-esteem and self-perception. Of course, in this world, that’s easier said than done.

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