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TikTok Takes Action: Blocking 'Legging Legs' and Promoting Eating Disorder Resources

CEO Tinh Phung
As the popularity of TikTok continues to soar, the platform faces its fair share of controversy. One particularly troubling trend that has emerged is the obsession with 'legging legs,' a modern-day version of the infamous...

As the popularity of TikTok continues to soar, the platform faces its fair share of controversy. One particularly troubling trend that has emerged is the obsession with 'legging legs,' a modern-day version of the infamous thigh gap. However, TikTok is now taking a stand against this harmful trend by blocking searches for 'legging legs' and instead redirecting users to resources focused on eating disorder awareness and body image positivity.

The Dark Side of Beauty Trends

beauty trends have always fascinated us, offering new styles and innovative techniques. From unique hairstyles to makeup application tips, these trends often bring a fresh flair to our lives. However, not all trends are created equal. Some can inadvertently cause harm to their targeted audience.

In the mid-2010s, the thigh gap became a sought-after physical attribute, fueled by popular posts on platforms like Tumblr. Now, this disturbing trend has resurfaced on TikTok under the name 'legging legs.' Users are led to believe that having a thigh gap is essential for confidently wearing leggings.

TikTok Takes a Stand

Recognizing the potential damage caused by this trend, TikTok has taken action. The platform has blocked searches for 'legging legs' and instead directs users to content that provides essential eating disorder resources. By offering a brief explanation of eating disorders and tips on handling body image issues, TikTok aims to support its users in developing a healthy relationship with their bodies.

While TikTok's efforts to limit exposure to harmful content are commendable, some users can still access videos related to 'legging legs' through slight misspellings or alternative search terms. Nevertheless, the platform's commitment to promoting body positivity is clear.

Raising Voices against the Trend

Many TikTok users, primarily women, have rallied against the 'legging legs' trend. One user, bellafernn, passionately spoke out against body shaming and urged others not to succumb to negative trends that promote insecurity. She emphasized self-love and refused to let such trends define her self-perception.

Clinical therapist Holly Essler expressed her disgust towards the trend in a TikTok post. She encouraged users not to let social media dictate their self-worth and reminded them that everyone has 'legging legs' if they have a body and wear leggings. Her empowering message resonated with countless individuals.

Another user, mikkzazon, criticized the trend for perpetuating an unrealistic Eurocentric beauty standard. She highlighted that the presence of a thigh gap is largely determined by genetics, and it is wrong to make young girls feel inadequate for their natural body shape. She called for an end to harmful trends that can negatively impact mental health.

Social Media Giants Under Scrutiny

TikTok's efforts to combat harmful trends come at a time when social media platforms face increased scrutiny for their impact on users, especially children. Lawmakers and parents have accused companies like Meta (formerly Facebook), Instagram, and TikTok of not doing enough to protect their users, particularly young ones.

During a recent Congressional hearing, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized to families who have suffered as a result of their platforms. Tennessee is among the states that have sued Meta, accusing the company of violating consumer protection laws and negatively influencing adolescents' mental health. The need for stronger safeguards to protect children and teens online was emphasized throughout the hearing.

While lawmakers acknowledge the role they play in addressing these issues, there is still a long way to go. The focus must be on enacting effective legislation to safeguard users and create a healthier online environment for all.

TikTok's decision to redirect searches for 'legging legs' towards eating disorder resources is an important step in combating harmful trends and promoting body positivity. By prioritizing the well-being of its users, TikTok sets an example for other social media platforms. However, the fight against harmful content and the protection of online users, especially children, requires a collective effort from lawmakers, tech companies, and society as a whole.