'Legging legs' is yet another example of the toxic beauty standards on TikTok

'Legging legs' is yet another example of the toxic beauty standards on TikTok

“Legging legs” is yet another example of a toxic beauty standard trend

TikTok/emilyxpearl, darciellenxo and sydneymarie469

A new toxic beauty standard has appeared on TikTok and it's all to do with the fit of leggings on women.

There is no denying that social media can be a harmful place, particularly when there is a new fad or trend that purposeful picks on people's insecurities.

From having a thigh gap to having a filter that can shrink our noses, women can barely catch a break from the Eurocentric beauty ideals that are constantly on our feeds.

The most recent one has been the "legging legs" trend is the notion that only those with long, thin legs should wear the tight-fitting, bottoms - with no cellulite, hip dips or short legs allowed.

This particular trend appeared to begin when videos were posted by people who used a sound from the TV show Gilmore Girls where the character Paris said: "Nothing in life is fair," which typically the caption reads: "When I see a girl with PERFECT legging legs.”

Since then, many women have gone viral for furiously calling out the new trend, branding it as "toxic" and damaging to impressionable teens on the app.

TikToker @sydneymarie469 wrote: "What are 'legging legs' and why is there a new insecurity on this app every week?" in a video that has nearly 7m views.

While, @emilyxpearl declared "This s*** has got to stop" in response to "legging legs."


You got my riled up at 7am… #toxictrend #toxictiktok #legginglegs #fypシ

"Do we understand what we are doing to a younger generation of women? Do we understand that 15-year-old girls that wear leggings every single day feel that they cannot wear leggings because they don't have 'legging legs," she added in a video that now has been viewed 6.6m times.

Suzanne Baum, a lifestyle editor, micro-influencer and mother-of-three has shared her "deep concern," for the social platforms where these toxic trends appear from.

"The latest 'leggings legs' trend makes me sick," she told Indy100.

"It is the ultimate toxic punch in the face when it comes to putting pressure on youngsters that they have to have a certain body shape to wear leggings."

"As someone who has never had a thigh gap and embraces my cellulite, the fact this 'trend' is being watched by millions of people, makes my blood boil. In a world where I, both as a mother of three and a lifestyle editor, try and promote body positivity and good mental health habits, this goes against everything I stand for."

Suzanne (pictured above) told Indy100 that she "lives in [her] leggings," and added: "I have cellulite and wobbly bits and don’t give a damn about people that body shame!"Suzanne Baum

She continued: "Nothing about the trend is positive, in fact, the opposite: it can negatively impact mental health and body image.

"At a time when TikTok is under fire to moderate its streams of viral videos, after increasing concerns that its young users are being exposed to toxic content, this trend should absolutely have NO legs to stand on."

Although she noted how social media can be an "excellent place to foster good relationships, promote positive messages and should be used as a force for good," toxic trends such as this are "concerning and damaging."

Meanwhile, Hannah O'Donoghue-Hobbs, a social media manager and mother of two daughters has echoed similar concerns about how these kinds of dangerous trends continue to emerge year after year.

"We've had it for years, from thigh gap challenges, waist measuring and other horrific social media-based trends, lots passed down from heavily edited celeb and influencer imagery and I truly think it's something we need to tackle so much earlier on as a community, schools, families etc but also online," she told Indy100.

"Whilst the platforms claim to have different tactics and warning flags to support people who may be negatively affected by such trends like the 'leggings legs' ones - they're just not working."

She added: "It's important we're all aware of how to block certain filters and content on our platforms to support our own mental health too."

Understanding the mental toll this kind of discourse can have on young minds is also important.

In 2022, the Dove Self-Esteem Project surveyed more than 1,000 girls aged 10 to 17 and found that 1 in 2 girls say toxic beauty advice on social media causes low self-esteem and 90 per cent of girls say they follow at least one social media account that makes them feel less beautiful.

The report detailed how social media feeds have replaced celebrities as their source of inspiration and entertainment and is also where they go for tips and advice – especially when it comes to beauty.

Over half of girls say they can’t live up to the beauty standards projected on social media.

"Toxic beauty advice normalizes unrealistic and narrowly defined beauty standards, promotes potentially harmful beauty practices (like cosmetic surgery), and suggests that the key to building self-esteem is physical ‘perfection’," Dove explained in the report.

Kamalyn Kaur, a psychotherapist and anxiety expert has shared with Indy100 the mental health impact these unrealistic beauty standards can cause inside a young person's mind.

"The narrow and idealized version of beauty can lead to young people developing negative perceptions of their own bodies. This can lead to body image issues, low self-confidence, low self-worth, and development of unhealthy behaviours such as disordered eating or excessive exercising," she explained.

When youngsters don't meet these standards, then it can "lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem," noted the pressure to conform can "contribute towards the development of anxiety and depression."

Young people may feel "envy, insecurity, and a sense of not measuring up" when they compare themselves negatively to others online e.g. celebrities, influencers, and peers "who appear to embody the 'ideal version of beauty.'"

As a result, these pressures and feelings can "contribute towards the development of anxiety and depression," according to Kaur.

She continued: "Unrealistic beauty standards have also been known to result in the development of unhealthy behaviours within a lot of young people who are often impressionable e.g. crash diets, excessive exercise, cosmetic procedures."

Social anxiety may also be a consequence of this due to "the constant fear of being judged; of not being perfect; of not being good enough" which will ultimately "impact the way they build relationships and friendships."

Kaur concluded: "It is important for society to promote diverse representations of beauty, encourage body positivity, and foster self-acceptance. It is only by doing this that we can reduce the mental health impact of these unrealistic beauty standards."

Indy100 has reached out to TikTok for comment.

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