The Insufferable “Legging Legs” Trend and Why Millennial Women Aren’t Having It

Millennial women across the internet collectively lost our minds last week when someone dared to suggest such as thing as “legging legs.”

In the latest effort to body-shame and humiliate women into meeting already unrealistic beauty standards, we’re hearing now that women with “legging legs” are those who have petite frames and skinny legs. Women who lack those criteria need not apply. Perhaps we would prefer a nice pair of parachute pants instead?

This is hardly the first act of its kind.

One of the reasons Millennial women are so outraged over “legging legs” is that many of us are now in our thirties and working to undo the damage done to us by “thigh gap.”

The concept of thigh gap (having a gap between your thighs when standing) has been around for a long time, but came to prominence in 2012. I was in my early twenties at the time and had finally conquered my long-time battle with exercise bulimia. I was learning to be okay with my short and somewhat stocky build, choosing to pursue competitive Olympic weightlifting—a sport for which my body type was well suited. I was gaining muscle and developing some pretty wicked quads and hamstrings. No matter how much muscle I gained, I could never seem to rid myself of the stubborn cellulite that sits on top of every muscle in my legs. But for once, I was fine with that. And for the first time, I was loving my body just as it was.

Then came thigh gap, and all the work I’d done toward building a positive self-image was shattered. Suddenly, despite being at the peak of my fitness and well-being, my body was considered unappealing because my thighs touched.

I am now thirty-nine and still untethering myself from this disgusting idea.

After speaking online with women from other generations, I’ve learned that just about every generation had its own form of “legging legs.” Evidently Gen-X had “heroin chic,” which I mistook at first for heroine, thinking they meant the feminized form of hero but forgot the -e. But no, they meant heroin chic: so thin that you look like all you put in your body is heroin. And that was meant to be a good thing!

Listen, we are just not doing this anymore.

We’re onto the capitalistic, consumeristic games played by the corporations that still, sadly, consist mainly of men at the executive level. They have learned that insecure women who hate their bodies spend money, so they constantly invent new ways to make us insecure. So good are they at their jobs that they also convince men of these absurd, manufactured beauty standards for women. They show these men images of the made-up “ideal” women and tell them that only the best, most “alpha-men” can have them. In so doing, they enlist men in their campaign to pressure women to spend whatever it costs to match this completely fabricated image that even men, at their core, don’t need us to achieve. They convince women that they are superior to other women if they happen to match that unachievable ideal, and those women become complicit in the collective shaming of the women who don’t.

And round and round it goes until women begin to catch on, and then it’s on to the next impossible-to-achieve beauty trend.

It’s sad.

It’s infuriating.

And we’re not having it.


Every burnt out Millennial woman who ever existed

Amber Wardell is a doctor of psychology and author who speaks on women’s issues related to marriage, motherhood, and mental health. Subscribe to the free newsletter to get exclusive content delivered to your inbox and to never miss an upload.

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