New #DefineBeauty Film Fetishizes Thigh Gaps

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Guy Aroch
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Destroying the thigh gap obsession seems like a worthy goal. After all, the little sliver of daylight between some women's legs has launched a thousand pro-anorexia sites and chatter across the web that is hard to quiet. It's become just one more unrealistic body standard for women to aspire to, even though whether or not you have one is almost purely genetic. Yet when a recent short film tried to stop the craze, it came up, well, short.

Fashion photographer and director Guy Aroch says he created the film because he wanted to “diffuse” the controversial topic by taking an abstract look at the much-documented thigh-gap obsession. “It was more a comment on the mysterious fixation women have,” he explains, “because as a male, I didn’t even know it was a thing.”

And his ignorance shows—starting right with the title: "The Magic Gap." Turning the descriptive thigh gap into something magical is not only confusing, but it elevates it, making it seem enchanting and desirable. Then there's the actual movie. The video shows '70s-style pictures of different thigh gaps while random people describe what they think "the magic gap" is. It's clear from the get-go that no one has the slightest clue, which might have been a good point had he stopped there. But the film is basically two minutes of pelvic exams on supermodels, all of whom have very noticeable gaps. Superimposing "a mystical thing where unicorns and rainbows come out" (as one person put it) over a lingering close-up of a young woman's crotch ends up feeling more like soft porn than empowerment.

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In addition to wording problems, Aroch's filmography is a little gross. Not only is there a creeper vibe to the camera angles, but we don't get to see any other parts of the women. There are no faces. There are no expressions. We don't even hear their voices. The women are only thigh gaps, apparently. The worst part is that this film was created as part IV of the #definebeauty project on Nowness, which is supposed to show beauty in a new light, challenging societal assumptions. Earlier videos looked at body hair and beauty as genius. All this video does, though, is perpetuate old body stereotypes—an unfortunate result given Aroch had a real opportunity to start a conversation about why this particular feature has become the standard of beauty. There is no intelligent commentary, no debate, no insight. Instead he just fetishizes it.

What do you think about this video? Think it missed the mark? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @Shape_Magazine.

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