TikTok has banned the term “legging legs” after an alarming trend circulated on the platform that was flagged as potentially triggering for those with eating disorders.
Although the hashtag #legginglegs has since been deleted from the platform and now directs users to information about eating disorders or disordered eating, the short-lived trend made its impact. It first went viral after women began to share videos of themselves in yoga pants showing off their thigh gaps.
As it was gaining traction, TikTok users swiftly began to push back against the trend, saying that the trend could be particularly damaging by encouraging eating disorders and body dysmorphia.
Therapist Holly Essler condemned the trend in a video, saying: “If you have seen this on social media, it’s 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 continued. “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.”
“Thank you for speaking up against these toxic trends that lead girls to so much insecurity and worse,” one person wrote in the comment section of Essler’s video.
It isn’t just Essler who criticised the popularity of the trend, plus-sized influencer Ashlee Rose Hartley (@ashleyrosehartley) shared her thoughts in another video that has received over 2.1mil views on the platform and 900 comments from women who felt the same way about the toxic trend.
In the overlaid text of her video, Hartley wrote: “I just saw a new trend called ‘legging legs’ that’s circulating on the internet & it’s young people critiquing their legs in leggings & saying that the perfect legs for leggings is a giant square thigh gap & small legs…here to remind you all that legs are legging legs.”
“I have been crying for the past 4 hours bc I don’t have ‘legging legs’ and my bf has been trying to comfort me the entire time,” one viewer commented below the video. Hartley responded, “I’m so sorry you’re feeling that. Just know you’re beautiful no matter what. Trends like this are designed to be exclusive but keep shining.”
Another TikTok user @emilyxpearl chimed in on the discourse, expressing how appalled she was at the people on the app.
“Do we understand what we are doing to the younger generation of women?” she said in her video. “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 added, “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?”
The “legging legs” trend perpetuates the idea that one singular body type and look is ideal, spreading misinformation and potentially harming impressionable and vulnerable minds in the process. An estimated 28.8 mil Americans reportedly experience an eating disorder within their lifetime, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. Researchers have found that social media usage can cause body image issues including eating disorders and body dysmorphia.