22/05/2014 11:14 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Why Are Women Posting Pictures Of Their Thigh Gaps On Social Media?

Facebook pages dedicated to the female thigh gap are thriving. But why are women posting pictures of themselves there for the male fan base to comment on? Rachael Gledhill investigates

Since when have thigh gaps (literally the gap between women's thighs) been considered erotic? Pages on Facebook dedicated to this part – or space – of the female anatomy are thriving and even more perplexingly, women are posting pictures of their own thigh gaps for men to view.

Social media is where trends start these days and often the stranger they are, the more people get involved. But while it's one thing for guys to think it's okay to perv on pictures of women online (not cool), the more confusing issue is why women are posting such personal images for strangers to look at. And why the thigh gap?

Celebrity psychologist Honey Langcaster-James says this is about women having ownership of their appearance. "Through use of social media such as Facebook and Instagram, people are investing more and more time into their online profile," she says. "They have more control over the image they portray online more than they do in reality".

Langcaster-James adds the new obsession with the thigh gap in particular comes from the society's fixation on the rich and famous. "This seems to have become a trend and could be linked to images of celebrities in the media," she says.

One of the sad things about all of this is what it means for romance and how men regard women in this context – what is important when it comes to aesthetics. Whatever happened to being bowled over by a pretty face or a quirky laugh? Images of thigh gaps on the pages dedicated to them are weirdly anonymous.

Social media psychologist Dr Arthur Cassidy says sharing such pictures is distorting our impression of what relationships are and should be. "The thing about Facebook is that you are moving into a world of un-reality - whatever you find online does not meet the criteria of reality. Most of the time the people viewing such pictures will not be trusted friends."

And although posting images of their bodies could be an attempt to bolster confidence via collecting "likes", in the end it could have the exact opposite effect.

Dr Cassidy says: "Body image is the most profound reason that Facebook is used but women's self- esteem can remain reduced due to social comparison and lack of positive feedback."

So, the thigh gap trend – will we have to stomach it for long? Let's hope not. At the end of the day, posting pictures online for strangers is a negative way to garner attention and praise. And as a gender we're better than that. So let's go back to the good old days when seeing a person's face was important and romance happened at an intimate dinner for two. Doesn't that sound ultimately a lot more fulfilling?