4th March 2024

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Technology and Computer

TikTok blocks ‘dangerous’ ‘legging legs’ trend, as experts sound alarm on social media and eating disorders

A social media trend encouraging women and girls to compare the look of their legs in leggings has prompted warnings from experts and led to the associated hashtag being banned on TikTok. 

Warning: This article mentions eating disorders.

The “legging legs” trend was gaining traction on TikTok until the platform redirected all searches for it to eating disorder resources.

The videos largely involved women and girls sharing their concerns that their legs didn’t look good in leggings, and attracted the ire of many social media users.

It has also been labelled as the Gen Z version of the “thigh gap” or “bikini bridge” movements that plagued Millennials in the 2000s and 2010s.

Australian fitness and lifestyle influencer Steph Claire Smith was among those to criticise the trend.

“I remember being obsessed with having a thigh gap … because social media told me that that was what was attractive,” she said.

“If you have legs, and you’ve got a pair of leggings on, you have legging legs.

“Don’t worry what the internet is saying.”

Trends can promote ‘unachievable ideal’

Experts said social media played a large role in shaping attitudes, particularly around body image.

Lauren Gurrieri, an associate professor of marketing at Melbourne’s RMIT, has researched how idealised body standards spread on social media.