TikTok Bans Dangerous New 'Legging Legs' Trend That Gen Z Is Obsessed With

By maks in Social Issues On 6th February 2024

The trend, labeled as "legging legs," features young girls making declarations that their legs do not look "good" in athletic leggings, highlighting the issue of body image standards.

The trend gained popularity late last year and has been criticized for promoting the notion that only one body type or look is considered ideal, which can mislead and negatively affect young, impressionable minds.

It suggests a very narrow view of beauty that can be harmful.

Several international media outlets have reported that TikTok has prohibited the use of the hashtag associated with this trend.

TikTok is cracking down on the “legging legs” trend after it received wide spread backlash over people promoting unrealistic body standards on the app. Credit: TikTok / @miakunis11

Now, users attempting to find videos under this tag are instead presented with information about disordered eating, indicating a shift towards promoting healthier content.

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A spokesperson from TikTok Australia spoke to news.com.au, confirming the platform's action:

"When people search for #legginglegs or content related to eating disorders, they are shown a pop-up with a link to the Butterfly Foundation.

"TikTok is an inclusive and body-positive environment and we do not allow content that depicts, promotes, normalizes or glorifies eating disorders."

Women from older generations, recognizing the trend of "legging legs" as a reflection of the toxic body image standards they encountered in their youth, have voiced their condemnation.

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Therapist Holly Essler described the trend as "repulsing."
 
"Basically it's a trend saying that if you have leggings and you wear leggings, your legs have to look a certain way in them," she explained in a video.
The leggings trend ignites the perception that one’s body type and look is ideal – misinforming and potentially harming vulnerable young minds. Credit: TikTok / @mikkzazon

"Again, this is disgusting. Do not let social media tell your body that it is a trend. If you have a body and you have leggings, you have legging legs."

Another TikTok user, @emilyxpearl, in her video, pondered on the impact of this trend on younger women.

"Do we understand what we are doing to the younger generation of women?" she asked.

"Do we understand that there are 15-year-old girls that wear leggings every single day that now feel that they cannot wear leggings because they don't have legging legs... the most stupid thing I've ever heard in my life," she continued.

"Do you understand that because of your video telling some little girl that she doesn't have legging legs, she now feels that she can't fit into society?"

Australia's Steph Claire Smith has criticized the movement as "disappointing" and "toxic."
 
"I remember being obsessed with having a thigh gap. I remember it driving me insane, being angry at my genetics, basically, and losing anything that I had on my legs just to have a friggin' gap because social media told me that that was what was attractive," she recounted.

"And now there is a trend: legging legs. If you have legs, and you've got a pair of leggings on, you've got legging legs."

"Don't worry what the internet is freaking saying. I am so, so done, so done, with these stupid trends that are so, so toxic and so damaging."

A screenshot of a failed search result for “legging legs” on is shown. Credit: Tiktok

A recent survey by the Butterfly Foundation found that almost half of 12 to 18 year olds feel dissatisfied with their body because of social media.

Additionally, numerous studies have found a disturbing association between Instagram and TikTok use and body dissatisfaction and eating disorders.

Head of communication and engagement at the Butterfly Foundation, Melissa Wilton, stated it's "vital that we combat this rhetoric and encourage people to see themselves as a whole being, rather than just their appearance and body size."

"These appearance-based trends on social media can be extremely dangerous as they portray a very narrow ideal of beauty and suggest that the perfect body exists, while also enforcing the belief that your appearance or body is what makes you worthy," Ms. Wilton told news.com.au.

"Research shows that the more a person internalises these unrealistic body and appearance ideals, the more likely they are to experience body dissatisfaction which can lead to the development of disordered eating and eating disorders."

Developing social media literacy, she added, is "key" to making apps like TikTok or Instagram "a positive space for users, reducing the risk of developing or exacerbating an eating disorder or body image issue and improving resilience and wellbeing".

Older women have condemned the “legging legs” trend, as some even called it “repulsing.” Credit: TikTok / @mikkzazon

"The power is in your hands - you can block or report distressing content and accounts, take regular breaks from scrolling... and fill feeds with positivity by following accounts that align with your own passions, hobbies, or interests outside of the realm of body appearance.

"If it is your friends that are posting this harmful content, and you don't want to hurt their feelings by unfollowing them, use the 'mute' feature so you don't see their content - they won't be notified."

Head of communication and engagement at the Butterfly Foundation, Melissa Wilton, stated it's "vital that we combat this rhetoric and encourage people to see themselves as a whole being, rather than just their appearance and body size."

"These appearance-based trends on social media can be extremely dangerous as they portray a very narrow ideal of beauty and suggest that the perfect body exists, while also enforcing the belief that your appearance or body is what makes you worthy," Ms. Wilton told news.com.au.

"Research shows that the more a person internalises these unrealistic body and appearance ideals, the more likely they are to experience body dissatisfaction which can lead to the development of disordered eating and eating disorders."

Developing social media literacy, she added, is "key" to making apps like TikTok or Instagram "a positive space for users, reducing the risk of developing or exacerbating an eating disorder or body image issue and improving resilience and wellbeing".

"The power is in your hands - you can block or report distressing content and accounts, take regular breaks from scrolling... and fill feeds with positivity by following accounts that align with your own passions, hobbies, or interests outside of the realm of body appearance. If it is your friends that are posting this harmful content, and you don't want to hurt their feelings by unfollowing them, use the 'mute' feature so you don't see their content - they won't be notified."