Hip dips—a naturally occurring part of the female form that has been peddled as yet another thing to be insecure about. At this rate, I genuinely can’t keep up. It seems that my days of covering toxic beauty trends are far from over. As someone with hip dips—and who recently went through a classic Christmas season filled with diet talk in my household—I now find myself self-loathing-ly adding another ‘flaw’ to my list. The dreaded low rise jeans comeback, hourglass syndrome and the thigh gap had been living on it a while. My relationship with my body is improving, perhaps not rapidly, but it is improving. I worry, however, for those like me who may be terribly affected by the onslaught of all this hip dip talk.
In fact, you will find ‘how to get rid of your hip dips’ content scattered throughout the internet—most notably the intense workout videos that saturate YouTube’s search for the term—and much like the ab crack trend, you guessed it, it’s all rubbish. Once again, an insecurity that you can actually do very little about. According to Ahrefs’ data, the demand surrounding ‘hip dips’ spiked in April 2020 (primetime lockdown) at a volume trend—the “estimation of the average monthly number of searches for a keyword”—of 393,440 in the US, with a current global volume of 785,000 as of 29 January 2022.
So, what actually are they? Well, the term hip dips is used to refer to the indentations located on the upper, outer thigh just underneath the hip bone—they develop completely naturally and are often a result of genetics. It’s just one of those things where some people have them and some people don’t. If you do have them, you should know that they are a fixed part of skeletal anatomy, and while some exercises may reduce the pronounced appearance of them, you simply cannot get rid of them.
In fact, “hip dips are completely normal and nothing to be concerned about,” Healthline wrote, “They’re a result of your body’s unique structure and not an indication of your health status. Likewise, their presence doesn’t necessarily reflect your body fat percentage.” Such facts unfortunately don’t appear to stop the internet, and clickbait-y exercise influencers at that, from creating, exacerbating and cashing in on the insecurity.
No. Not really. “Hip dips are not a sign of being healthy, unhealthy, overweight or underweight,” David Wiener, a training specialist for the Freeletics fitness app, told Women’sHealth. “Although the amount of body fat you have can make hip dips more noticeable and can be the result of having a higher level of muscle mass, it’s important to remember that hip dips are a part of your bone structure and, while you can enhance your body shape through exercise and diet, you cannot change your bone structure,” he continued.
When working out, it is important to prioritise the actual health of your hips as opposed to the aesthetic. As with all body parts, they are an incredibly vital part of your physique and proper care should be taken for their use. That is the way in which exercise should be promoted, not as a means to change something physically impossible to. This is what makes this trend particularly damning, in that you actually cannot achieve its removal. Obsessing over such could therefore make it especially dangerous to the mental health of those insecure of it.
However, there is hope on the horizon, with internet-labelled hip dips champion Bella Hadid—wearing whatever she wants, never disguising hers—becoming the poster child for people embracing their own, the trend to get rid of them may have begun its slow death (hopefully). This seems to be the case as Today, citing many examples, reported the pushback against the trend and showed evidence for the large acceptance and appreciation for these beautiful little dips.
The OG thigh gap has yet another competitor racing to overtake its inescapable grip on the internet and our bodies. Say hello—or better yet, goodbye—to the ‘ab crack’ trend. Here we go again…
Forget about the bikini bridge trend, there’s another impossible body standard being shown off in a tiny swimsuit and it’s called the ‘ab crack’. But, what is it? You’ve most definitely seen it on an endless scroll through Instagram, in any bikini campaign or on every model—you name it, Emily Ratajkowski, Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber—there is a line going down in between their left and right sets of abs. Well, that is the ever so exclusive ab crack. A distinct line that dances along a person’s torso. It is the latest bodily ‘accessory’ to complete the Instagram ‘body goals’ starter pack.
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As always, a trend’s popularity only exacerbates when celebrities are involved and the above names are just a few examples. In an aptly titled 2021 article by Vogue called Is Ab crack the new six-pack?, the publication cited the term’s long-standing life on the internet but suggested users’ latest obsession with it came as a result of model, actor and activist Ratajkowski’s “bikini body pictures she has posted to Instagram highlighting the indented line between her abdominal muscles.”
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This is not to be confused with diastasis recti, where your abdomen separates in two creating a gap between both sides of your abs that runs down the area. If the gap is wider than an inch, then it may be a sign of the condition—while not isolated to this alone, it typically occurs due to pregnancy.
The ab crack’s disturbing insurgence has little to do with those who may naturally possess the feature taking harmless images of themselves showing their stomach but with the dangerous sentiment attached to it. To put it simply, criticising the trend is not criticising the woman behind its natural body type but those that have peddled the narrative that it’s a mark of just how dedicated you are to working out. That you got it in the gym. Well, we all know by now the infamous phrase ‘abs are made in the kitchen’ but even that’s got a bit wrong. Forget kitchens and gyms, abs are made in your genes.
No. That’s the simple answer. The ab crack is yet another absurd fitness standard, added to the ever-growing list, that not everyone will be able to achieve—not that you should even have to try to achieve it (even if you can) to prove your ‘healthiness’ to the judgemental eyes of Instagram. Let me clarify something: we all have abs—they are there—whether they are distinctly visible or not (regardless of how hard you workout) is largely up to genetics.
“Not everyone is destined to have a washboard stomach or an ‘ab crack’, no matter how hard they work out, or how little they eat,” said Roshini Rajapaksa, Health’s medical editor and assistant professor at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine. “Usually the people who achieve them are fitness professionals or models who are paid to look unnaturally good—who are also probably genetically blessed.”
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One must remember that having an ab crack is not the be-all indication of being healthy. It largely has nothing to do with a person’s actual strength of core but is more about the aesthetic of the defined line. Most of what we see online, particularly on Instagram, is altered and Photoshopped—much of what scrolls up your screen just isn’t real. Lest not forget the accusations of heavy doctoring made to Jenner’s infamous lingerie photos.
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The same goes for the ab crack. John Ford, a trainer from Find Your Trainer, told Allure in 2016, “I would say any trend that places emphasis on a look that’s primarily dependent on your genetics is a bad and unhealthy trend. Additionally, overexerting yourself through specifically weighted ab routines can result in tears in the abdominal muscles and hernias. So, if people start overdoing their ab workouts in the hopes of seeing a more pronounced ab crack, they could do some serious damage to their body.”
Owner of London Fields Fitness and fitness specialist Sapan Seghal, told Grazia that no matter how hard you work out or what you may put your body through, there is absolutely no guarantee that you’d get the crack. Nor should you want to, according to the expert. A large part of the desire for the ab crack comes from Instagram’s obsession with “visual health” as opposed to actual health, he argued. There is no point if you aren’t putting yourself first and choosing real health (no matter what it looks like) over aesthetics.
So, what have we learned? Abs are largely due to genetics, so don’t punish yourself in order to ‘get them’. Health is wealth and more than just appearances. Don’t bash those who may naturally look like this, but more importantly, don’t bash yourself. Who cares what models look like and why you need this or that to be ‘healthy’ or ‘attractive’? Just do you. Fuck the ab crack. Who needs it? I’ll take my chips to go, please.