**Thigh gaps are for flamingos.**
I first heard this phrase about a year ago from a peer in treatment and immediately loved it (this post is technically from the drafts series, but I really only had the headline). While pursuit of specific physical attributes does *sometimes* play a role, EDs are usually about much more than that. Similarly, this statement is not necessarily about thigh gaps in particular, it’s much more about the awareness that there are many different body types, just like there are different heights and eye colors and shoe sizes.
To me, this is an empowering statement about unrealistic body standards and expectations and moralization. Flamingos have thigh gaps. That doesn’t make them good flamingos, or bad flamingos, they are just flamingos. Penguins don’t have thigh gaps. They don’t even really have thighs. That does not make them good or bad, that’s just how they are. Nobody would dream of telling a penguin to work on getting a thigh gap, because that’s just not how their bodies are made.
Unless you are a proverbial flamingo, which would also be perfectly acceptable, a thigh gap may not be a realistic expectation for you. That doesn’t make your body any less perfect or lovable and this is an important awareness for me. My body is a good body. Just because my body type isn’t flamingo, does not mean it is a bad body.
Given this connotation in my mind, I adopted the flamingo as my recovery spirit animal. I have acquired several items of clothing featuring flamingos and when I feel anxious about being among people, or insecure about my body, I wear one of these items and am confident in the knowledge that my body is a good body and my attributes need no justification.