legging legs

@mikkzazon/TikTok FXQuadro/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘Legging legs’ takes over TikTok

'Legging legs' has been deemed the new thigh gap, and many are saying it’s equally as problematic.

 

Tricia Crimmins

IRL

Posted on Jan 31, 2024   Updated on Feb 1, 2024, 7:09 am CST

In each edition of web_crawlr we have exclusive original content every day. On Tuesdays our IRL Reporter Tricia Crimmins breaks down the trends on the popular app that will make you cringe in her “Problematic on TikTok” column.  If you want to read columns like this before everyone else, subscribe to web_crawlr to get your daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox.


The internet is freaking out over “legging legs,” a new TikTok term that originated to signify that people with thigh gaps look best inleggings. And if “thigh gap” sounds familiar, that’s because it is. The term originated in the 2010s and describes the space between some people’s thighs when they stand with their feet together. Not everyone has a thigh gap and the feature is usually associated with thinness, but the feature became something that many women strove for via disordered eating.

Thus, “legging legs” has been deemed the new thigh gap, and many are saying it’s equally as problematic. TikTok itself even seems to agree: When users search “legging legs” on the app, TikTok redirects them to the National Alliance for Eating Disorders hotline and related resources.

“Leggings legs are just a glorified version of the 2014 Tumblr thigh gap that literally annihilated the mental health of every single young woman who was in middle school at the time,” a TikToker said in a video on the term. “So like let’s not do that again.”

These trends have got to stop,” another said. “We have young girls right now who think they can’t wear a wardrobe essential that is comfortable, that can be paired with so many different things, because they don’t have a thigh gap.”

“Legging legs” also made it to X—possibly because TikTok has censored a lot of the discussion surrounding it.

“Ppl acting like ‘legging legs’ is new when it’s just ‘thigh gap’ rebranded,” an X user wrote. “[Influencers], advertising, and the media will recycle these ideas to the end of time to keep woman insecure so they can capitalize off of our insecurity and shame.”

“WTF are ‘legging legs’ our bodies are not trends just STOP,” another person wrote. “If u have legs and u have leggings congrats u have leggings legs.”

Why it matters

Studies show that social media “leads to body image concerns, eating disorders/disordered eating and poor mental health” because it encourages comparison and helps maintain the myth that being thinner is better.

But there’s certainly a bright side to how this all played out: Days after “legging legs” went viral, TikTok shut it down. Plus, the majority of “legging legs” content that remains (and went viral) are videos condemning the concept.

The internet has its malevolent corners, but goodness seems to finally be (somewhat) mainstream.

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*First Published: Jan 31, 2024, 6:00 am CST