Surprise, surprise. There’s been yet another potentially harmful body part and appearance-related trend on social media. TikTokers have been using the hashtag #legginglegs and terms like “perfect legging legs” to tell everyone what they think your legs “should” look like if you want to wear leggings or similar tights over the lower part of your body. Because who knows more about what you are supposed to look like and wear than some random person on TikTok, right?
This trend didn’t have enough of a leg stand on, though. TikTok now prevents you from searching for content with such hashtags and terms. For example, when you do search for “legging legs,” TikTok currently returns a page that says, “You’re not alone If you or someone you know is having a hard time, help is always available.” This page also offers contact information for eating disorder helplines and other resources.
Many on social media found this “legging legs” trend to be reminiscent of the whole “thigh gap” trend that first went viral-ish back in late 2012. After a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show featured some models who were able to maintain noticeable between their inner thighs even when they were standing with their feet touching—which is when many people’s thighs come together to touch. Naturally, it’s difficult to know what unnatural things models may need to do to create and maintain such an appearance.
Nevertheless, images of such “thigh gaps” in models soon began appearing all across social media adn other places on the Internet because that’s what our celebrity- and advertisement-obsessed culture tends to do these days. Then, that next year, blogger Camille Hugh published a book called The Thigh Gap Hack, followed by making rounds on shows like The Dr. Oz Show, which probably further amplified the idea that having a thigh gap is somehow an ideal appearance.
The book and this whole “thigh gap” trend received criticism for setting unrealistic and potentially very unhealthy expectations of being thin for girls and women. Yeah, many people seemed to have big gaps in knowledge about thigh gaps. Sure, some people may naturally have thigh gaps because their hip bones and structures are spaced out that way, just like some people may be able to wear giant Fedoras because that’s how their heads are shaped. But for many others—perhaps most of the population—it can be practically impossible to have a thigh gap without sacrificing your health in some way. And very few people will in the long run say, “Worth it,” when they sacrifice their health to look a certain way.
Plus, the fact is what looks good is very subjective and can be conditioned by many things around you. There’s no scientific evidence behind whether a thigh gap should be considered attractive.
The same is true with how one appears when wearing leggings or other tights over their lower extremities. There is tremendous diversity across the human species. While there is agreement among medical researchers as to a variety of things that constitute healthy ideals—such as being able to walk certain distances without getting out of breath—there is no scientific consensus as to what should be considered truly attractive. You only have to look at arm warmers, pleather chaps and rat tail hair cuts to understand that looks are very subjective. An appearance that may be the bee’s knees to one person may be a flea’s wheeze to another. Moreover, what’s touted as a fashion trend one year may be rear end garbage the next.
Yet, many people keep looking at social media to determine how they should look, which can be a bit like walking into a subway station and yelling, “Tell me what to do with my life.” And there’s no shortage of people on social media ready to tell you what you should think even though they have little qualifications to do so. Keep in mind that you just don’t know who on social media is being paid what to push certain appearances and products.
This isn’t a new trend though that only came upon us during the age of social media. For years, Hollywood, advertisers, celebrities and others with platforms to the public have been telling everyone what is attractive and what is not. That has included what body size, body shape, skin color, eye configuration, hair color, hair style and other stuff is ideal versus no so good. This has only grown as societal interests and norms have become more and more superficial and less and less science-based.
So the bottom line—and the legs line—is that you shouldn’t worry too much about what others think you should look like in leggings. Decide for yourself how you want to look and express yourself with your clothing. It’s more important to consider the objective measures of your physical and mental health and the body weight and shape that can help improve such measures. Your body is the vessel that you will have to travel in for the rest of your life, presumably well beyond the duration of any social media post.