On first glance, this was the news that heralded the End of the World. A Singaporean designer, Soo Kyung Bae has launched a new jewellery collection created to highlight a person’s ‘thigh gap’. As in, actual pieces of jewellery to wear between your legs to emphasise how thin you are. We considered signing up for the one-way trip to Mars. BUT WAIT. Before we all take up arms and, er, delete Instagram or something, let’s all be aware that this is not, in fact, real.
The designer actually devised the concept as a tool with which to explore society’s dangerous approach to body ideals, and the damaging effects that ‘trends’ such as ‘thigh gap’ can have on young people, particularly women. ‘TGap’ jewellery has its own website, which looks so real you can actually select items to add to your basket. When you try and click ‘checkout’ however, you’re directed to an explanation of the jewellery, which states that “TGap Jewellery is a fictional company that sells jewelleries designed for thigh gaps. It is launched to catalyze a debate on unrealistic body image social media portrays.”
Soo Kyung told Dezeen magazine: “The thigh gap represents one of the first few trends regarding body ideals the media has popularised. It clearly demonstrates [the] media’s power on influencing one’s perception of body image.”
“The jewellery pieces take the thigh-gap trend to another level, the pieces are created in hopes of sparking questions,” she added. “If we let the media to keep popularising such unrealistic body ideal, will this eventually become reality?”
While the images of people wearing the ‘jewellery’ look pretty ridiculous, the message behind them is anything but. With increasing exposure to social media and the selfie now very much ingrained in our culture, it can be impossible to avoid the onslaught of images cultivated to portray a certain level of ‘perfection’ that often perpetuates a single body type. Basically, the world can be a depressing place. The fact that the term ‘thigh gap’ even exists is itself proof of that fact.
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The designer said that when she launched the website last week, she received hundreds of “shocked, enraged and confused comments” but says that when people understood the message, they were “appreciative”: “By using outrageous products, I hope to bring a provocative jolt that leads us to ponder and reflect upon what we are like as a society and the absurd things we value and obsess over – as well as how this creates unnecessary pressure for women and girls,” she said.
“One can use design to spark debate and reflection, to be a catalyst for people to decide for themselves about their position on this matter,” she added.