Demi Lovato posts an anti thigh gap selfie: amazing or attention seeking?

This is a selfie from Demi Lovato’s Instagram page. She was hospitalized last week for a lung infection, which was reportedly “flu-related.” Demi’s feeling much better now (whew) and was able to enjoy some bikini downtime. Her caption reads, “Regardless of what society tells you these days … You don’t have to have a thigh gap to be beautiful. It is possible to love your body the way it is. #fitness #health #acceptance #selflove

I’m a little torn on this selfie (not because of Demi’s bod). She looks lovely, and her (conscious) intentions may have been pure. Demi’s talked body image many times and still battles ED. There’s nothing wrong with her caption or speaking out against a beauty standard. A thigh gap is unattainable for many women no matter what they weigh. It has a lot to do with skeletal structure, but girls still starve themselves in a quest for this ridiculous goal.

Ultimately, Demi posted a bikini shot. It’s a self-indulgent move, and she’s talking body image right before posting possible evidence of a juicing diet. I like that she recently posted a spinning selfie and looks tough at the gym, but another photo advocates for #2adays workouts, which feels borderline obsessive. Demi knows young girls are watching her every move on social media. She’s telling people to love their bodies, but she’s going to great lengths to be able to say it to herself. As someone with an eating disorder, Demi should know mixed messages won’t help anyone who visits her Instagram page.

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet & WENN

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34 Responses to “Demi Lovato posts an anti thigh gap selfie: amazing or attention seeking?”

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  1. Katie says:

    I find anything like this to be attention seeking. But, I will give her this, she looks fabulous and it’s great to see a healthy young woman.

  2. Kitten says:

    When I clicked on the IG link all I saw was a photo of juice shots. I didn’t see anything about her advocating an all-juice diet or anything.

    Selfies are always a bit attention-seeking, no way around it-but at least she’s using a selfie to promote something positive.

    • Renee says:

      I agree with what you’ve written here. Plus, as someone who is “thick in the thighs” myself I am enjoying the shoutout :)

      Even if she is exercising excessively she is never going to have a shape that is considered to be svelte or lithe that’s just how she is built and that’s fine. I think that she is good to make peace with her shape and celebrate a variety of sizes…I think that is something to be lauded and that those of us who are not there yet should strive for.

    • Mia V. says:

      Selfies, like the term says, it’s about yourself and if she wants to take a selfie cause she feels good about herself, go Demi! And the fact that she exercises don’t change the nice message.

    • FLORC says:

      I’m torn on this.
      She’s advocating good things, but her photos are the type to be seen on pro-ed sites. Had there been no caption to the photo the message and what girls took away from it would be very different.

      The exercises have me conflicted too. You can be excessive. You can eat healthy and overdo your exercising and still look ok on the outside, but your body is suffering on the inside.
      I hope she’s ok, but often you trade out addictions.

  3. lem says:

    eh her “juicing cleanse” post looks more like they’re just boosters to incorporate with a healthy diet. They’re tiny–it doesn’t seem like she’s drinking only those throughout the day without any other food. Also, two-a-day workouts aren’t necessarily bad, it just depends on what you’re doing. If you’re working out for a total of 4 hours per day in two 2-hour sessions, that’s obsessive. But if you’re just splitting up your workout, it’s not necessarily bad.

    • Jenna says:

      Agree, this does not look like a super unhealthy or over-the-top lifestyle she’s promoting.

      I also sometimes do “two-a-day” workouts, but it might be something like go running in the morning, then do a half hour of something focused more on flexibility and injury prevention in the evening (say, a combination of PT exercises and stretching). The second workout is not all that intense, but it is physical activity and does a lot for my overall fitness. I really find those kinds of “light” workouts are necessary for me to be able to train hard during my “real” workouts.

  4. The Other Maria says:

    I don’t mind this.

    I agree about selfies being attention seeking in nature, for one, I’m simply grateful it’s not photo shopped.

    There’s nothing wrong with promoting self acceptance and healthy living.

  5. Brittney B says:

    [Apologies for writing an essay... didn't mean to get so long-winded.]

    I’d much rather have Demi’s body than, say, any given supermodel’s body. And lest that sound like thin-shaming, I know different sizes are healthy for different people, and I don’t idealize one over the other. But emaciated isn’t a look that anyone should ASPIRE to have, and unless you have a very particular (and uncommon) kind of bone structure, thigh gaps are absolutely unhealthy. So I agree with the other comments. This is positive, pure and simple. Girls pay attention to things like this, for better or worse… and if one teenage girl has one less reason to dread wearing a bathing suit, then Demi accomplished something monumental.

    Besides… I think she’s allowed a few “look at me” selfies anyway! She spent so many years being torn down (and still struggles with tearing herself down)… it’s okay to post a bikini shot once in a while, especially if there’s a good message attached. If Demi was like a Kardashian, feeding off the constant validation of gym pics and progress pics and makeup selfies, I would agree that it’s problematic and sending mixed messages (to herself and her fans)… especially if there was cosmetic and computer enhancement.

    I know women like that, who have struggled with abuse or eating disorders as kids and teenagers. They still spend all their energy crafting perfect online images, editing their selfies, following trends… all for the validation of a few dozen “likes” and comments from people they barely know anymore. I feel for them, but they’ve lost any genuine sense of self, and it’s difficult to continue a friendship when I know every picture and outing and message is shared for public approval and has nothing to do with me (think LeAnn Rimes). Even if it’s not 100% vapid or selfish, even if you know there are underlying factors… it’s very sad and frustrating to witness. But I digress…

    Basically, what I’m trying to say is… social media can be SO TOXIC if you don’t already know and love yourself, and celebrity is very similar. When you put the two together (fans/tabloids and Instagram/FB/Twitter), PLUS you have real issues like anorexia or bulimia? It must take superhuman strength to tune it out and be smart about what and how you post. I admire Demi so much for getting help and realizing progress is ongoing, lifelong, and deeper than flattering angles or moments of confidence.

    • FLORC says:

      Agree mostly.
      I’m pretty well against social media over instant information that seems like TMI.
      And it creates a greater need for immediate gratification. You can get upset if someone you’ve never met doens’t fall over themselves to tell you how great that photo is.

      Loving yourself should remove the need to post selfies. And Demi’s selfie here is showing her to be thin. Flat stomach. It’s a very flattering shot.
      Someone who posts Selfies and doesn’t do it to humble brag? Lorde is a great example.

      Still, she’s posting an image that if a celeb that was thin like Swifty, Kloss, Margot posted it would be showing off. The caption stands alone.
      And the message is correct and wonderful.

    • qwerty says:

      Supermodels aren’t emaciated.

  6. moon says:

    Amazing. This thigh gap thing is ridiculous, it’s not what most women have, yet a majority of teenagers are growing up thinking there’s something wrong with their bodies because their bodies are healthy and normal.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I know I’m old, but I never even heard of a thigh gap until about five years ago. When I was a teenager, there was pressure to be “cute” or pretty, but everything is so specific now.

    • get it together says:

      YES. I was a teenager in the 90s and had never heard of a thigh gap. That being said, I was self conscious about my body because I was TOO thin. I was a varsity cross country and track runner, and went on to compete as a Division I athlete in college. My body was an amazing tool for my sport, but I always felt like boys would’t like me because I was just thin, wiry muscle. Teenage girls as a whole tend to be preoccupied with their bodies, but people forget that not all teens want to be skinny.

  7. StormsMama says:

    She seems to be practicing the process of being the healthy happy person she wants to be. I’m so impressed with how candid and unashamed she’s been regarding her eating disorder. I had one for years and it took a lot of work to heal and I still feel shame (in waves) about it all these years later. I wasted so many young healthy years hating and hurting myself! I know I won’t ever go down the ED rabbit hole to the degree I was for so many years bc it just took a huge toll on my body. I’m too “old” to do that to myself. Like, I just physically can’t. Plus with a child— I mean there’s no going back.
    I applaud her for working it out and while it may be attention seeking (aren’t all celebs seeking some form of attention and praise) it’s hopefully a way for her to walk her walk and talk her talk.
    In helping and healing myself I always found myself repeating the mantra Practice the process of the person you want to be and you will be the person you want to be ☺️

  8. Clucky says:

    I’m at a normal weight, have a BMI of 21.8 and my thighs do not touch. The space there is absolutely because of my skeletal structure, not because I’m particularly skinny. It’s such a stupid goal, lol!

    • PinaColada says:

      +1 I have a thigh gap too, and it’s nothibg I’ve ever “done on purpose.” The whole thing is ridiculous.

    • alicia says:

      I have a thigh gap but that is because I have an ED. My thigh gap is the result of unhealthy measures and it’s not attractive. In order to have that gap it means you can see all the bones on my chest, my arms are scrawny and awful. If you naturally have a thigh gap then it can be attractive, but there’s nothing attractive about starving yourself.

      • Umila says:

        I have a thigh gap too. My whole family is small and I ride horses so I think that has pared down the insides a lot. I actually like the way it looks in leggings, but I would never feel confident taking photos of my legs–they’re still short and flawed.

        Demi looks really toned here and her skin is super pretty. Wish she would stop doing the parade of ‘Why look like that when you can look awesome like me’ bit. It reminds me of Jessica Lowndes peacocking. We get it, you’re pretty.

    • Jenna says:

      Honestly, I also have a “natural” thigh gap and I really don’t see why it is such an aspirational thing. I’m pretty fit but I also definitely have fat and even (gasp) cellulite ON MY THIGHS. It’s just that between bone structure and where the fat happens to accumulate, my inner thighs don’t touch. It’s one of the stupider metrics of beauty I’ve ever heard of, because it really indicates zero about actual health. Something like waist/hip ratio makes much more sense (though please let’s not give the corset trend any more reason to take off…).

  9. OhDear says:

    As much as selfies are annoying, I think it’s fine here. My hunch is that the selfie’s message wasn’t just for her fans, it was for herself as well (in dealing with her ED/body image, not necessarily being self-indulgent).

  10. EC says:

    to me, all bikini pictures are attention seeking. that’s just how I feel about them

    I mean, you could say she is purposefully seeking attention to highlight this issue blah blah blah but I still think when you are putting your body out there like that, its part bragging, part looking for attention, part highlighting an issue, part conveying body confidence, all those things.

    She looks great and I hope she feels as amazing as she looks. But yeah, she is looking for attention. Not a bad thing, just the truth

  11. kymmie says:

    When I was younger…in the 70′s my older sister had one…she was 5’11, thin, and looked like whitney houston….before whitney houston…lol! She had one and we would make fun of her because her thighs didn’t touch! Who does that! Anyway my whole point is most standards of beauty are absolutely ridiculous. To quote that real essence of beauty…”if you can’t love yourself…how the hell you gonna love anyone else?…Can I get an amen”

    • shixappeal says:

      This. Standards of beauty are very different around the world.I come from a tall and thin branch of my family. I have a thigh gap but I also have a faux leg. You can decide what you want more. Africans can want to have more meat on them because it looks healthier RuPaul is always the standard of beauty.

  12. platypus says:

    I don’t see any mixed messages here. The juice photo is clearly a paid ad, and she looks fit and healthy.

  13. msw says:

    More power to her. Part of her recovery would involve being happy with the body she has. If that means posting selfies, I won’t begrudge her that.

  14. steph says:

    I live in Mexico, and I never heard of the tight gap thing before until I read some articles in these page. Is that an American thing or what?
    I just find it really stupid. I didn’t even know that such thing existed. God, people are so obsessed with every part on their body.

  15. Veronica Lodge says:

    I’m a Demi fan, so I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. As an ED survivor, I can only say from my own experience, so much positive attention is received when losing weight, in recovery, it’s hard to lose that and sometimes attention seeking happens. I did it, it’s looking for a connection . I’m happy she’s a role model on healthy recovery, vs a Lohan or Kardashian. Peace out.

  16. Naddie says:

    I can’t believe there are people promoting thigh gap… This is beyond stupid, this is madness! It’s just a physical characteristic, what a hell.

  17. poof says:

    Good for her. I’m rooting for this young lady to be alright.