Box gaps and bikini bridges

Created By: Kate Fagan, 25 Kate Fagan, 25

"Box gap" and "bikini bridge" are both memorable terms, but ReachOut.com Crew member Kate reckons the message they send about body image is worth forgetting.

Four girls watching sunset
It's hard to ignore a damaging message about health and hotness, when it's the main one you hear AND it has a pithy name

What's in a name? 

The internet is really good at making up names for things that don’t actually mean anything in real life. Sometimes this is excellent (e.g. emojis), and sometimes it is really not excellent.  Some non-excellent names you may have heard online recently: 

Box gap (noun):  The gap some people have between their thighs when they stand with their legs and feet together. 

Bikini bridge (noun): When the fabric of a woman's bikini bottoms is suspended like a bridge above her stomach, because her hip bones stick out further than her stomach does. Most bikini bridges are achieved with some assistance from gravity, when a woman lies flat on her back. 

Aside from bikini bridges putting you at risk of accidentally joining a game of peekaboo pubes, these body traits aren’t bad in themselves. Some people just happen to have gaps between their thighs , and some people happen to have sticky-out hips. Like many things, it’s not the terms themselves that are a problem, so much as what they come to mean for people, and how they are used. 

Skinny = healthy + hot? Maybe not. 

When I was 16, I happened to notice I had a gap between my thighs, and a gap between my hips where my stomach should be (back then I had no name for them). The trouble was, once I knew of these gaps, I became really interested in keeping them around. In my mind, they meant that I was ‘skinny,’ which in turn meant that I was ‘healthy and hot!’ 

I spent the next three years monitoring my weight, health and hotness by the size of these gaps and it was only when I developed a long-term illness at the age of 19 that things changed. As I got skinnier, and I felt sicker, my long-standing belief that skinny always meant healthy was seriously challenged.

I’m not the only one who will tell you that skinniness, health and hotness don’t necessarily relate at all.  There are plenty of health professionals, and plenty of non-professional but nevertheless clever clogs who have come to the same conclusion.  Everyone’s body shape is different, and there are far more reliable markers of health than weight

That can be pretty hard to believe sometimes though. By the time we've given names to body traits like box gaps and bikini bridges, they’ve well and truly hit the mainstream and taken on a higher level of importance than they deserve. Before we know it, women are competing  to be the gosh-darn best at box gapping they can be. Those that aren’t achieving gappy-enough boxes? They just need to exercise more, push themselves further, and read some more #fitspiration posters for motivation. #nevergiveup #diets4lyf.

Beating bikini bridge bullshit

This is the point where I throw my hands up in the air and want to shout “Internet, you have failed us all!”  No wonder around 30% of young Australians report having body image issues

The internet does give us one weapon of resistance. If you don’t like the conversation being had, start one of your own.  We have the power to turn this around. Let’s start some alternative convos about health, fitness and hotness, bust some myths, and share these convos far and wide. A few to kick off with:

Share them, spread the word, and beat the bullshit. 

What you can do now

Last reviewed: 29 July, 2015
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7 Comments

  • Ben-RO    (328 days ago)

    Hey @Huggies61 ! The tricky thing about answering your question is they're not ridiculously perfect! Celebrity photos are edited a lot, even ones that look like they're taken on a phone are often still edited to make gaps bigger or thighs smaller. Box Gaps and Bikini Bridges are something we made up as a standard of beauty and really there's a lot more to people than the made up stuff in magazines. You can look just the way you are and be really beautiful! The problem isn't with you, it's with us focusing on one standard of heavily photo-shopped beauty rather than noticing all the other ways people are beautiful. I want you to have a go at something for me, instead of looking at something you don't have, find something you like about your body and celebrate it! If you want to start learning more; have a talk to the amazing people in this group on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/bodyimagemovementIf you're really worried about how you look and you feel like it's getting in the way of your day to day life, there are people who can talk to you about this too. The people at the Butterfly Foundation are heaps lovely and supportive and talk to anyone who are worried about the way they look. http://thebutterflyfoundation.org.au/If you have any more questions or want to talk with the peeps at RO, then come and say hi! Make a post here: http://forums.au.reachout.com/t5/Everyday-life-stuff/bd-p/Everyday_life_stuff

  • Huggies61    (329 days ago)

    Why do celebrities seem so ridiculously perfect? I don't understand, they all have "box gaps" and "bikini bridges" as well as their collarbone defined. I don't have any of that, why does that make me feel fat? (You can see a tiny bit of my collarbone if I suck my breath in.)

  • safari93    (594 days ago)

    Hey AB01, it's great to see how positive and healthy your body image is!! Especially since you can really feel insecure about how you look as a teenager, but you're already all over it! Definitely agree with your statement about confidence - if you already accept your size and shape, what anyone else says doesn't matter

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