Ever so often on social media, we come across stories of body shaming and fat shaming. People trolled and insulted for posting real photos of themselves that may not conform to the unrealistic measures of photoshopped model bodies showcased on ads and magazine covers, and not only by the general junta but at times, even by celebrities themselves. Hashtag challenges such as the #BellyButtonChallenge and #A4WaistChallenge perpetuate unrealistic body types and measurements, leading to an unhealthy obsession with the body and disorders such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
But real women have had enough. Now, there is a growing trend of body-positive movements on social media that celebrate unedited, real bodies of women – encouraging them to love themselves and their bodies, without any prejudice. After the thing-gap-busting trend of #MermaidThighs urged women to ditch the whole thigh gap theory and be proud of their legs au naturale, another edition of #ThighsForJeaux started September 1.
Started by South African Twitter user @Mijeaux in March 2015 to beat the heat, the movement was so successful that it has been revived a couple of times over – once earlier this year in January and then again right now in September. In an interview with the South African edition of the Marie Claire magazine, Mixo (the woman behind @Mijeaux) said she was complaining how hot it was on Twitter and that it was impossible for women to not show their thighs in the heat. But because of the street harassment women have to face if they wear short clothes, they end up preferring to boil under the sun than wear something that’s comfortable and breezy. So, she posted a picture of herself in a summer outfit with the hashtag #ThighsForJeaux.
— thigh ambassador? (@Mijeaux) January 8, 2016
“Something else that motivated me to do the hashtag is how often people are judged for showing their thighs, especially if their thighs are deemed imperfect by societal standards. I wanted to use the hashtag to problematise these attitudes towards our bodies,” she told the magazine.
This past week, the hashtag picked up momentum as she sent out another call asking women to share unfiltered photos of their thighs, irrespective of how thick, hairy, dimply, creased, stretched or “imperfect” they may seem. Women – not only in Sout Africa, but around the world – responded with gusto.
The trend has also spread to other social media sites such as Instagram, with more and more women posting body positive messages along with their pictures.
Check out some of the posts.
— Amor Vat’one? (@Theysie) September 1, 2016
— bongiwe. (@_BonitaB) September 1, 2016
— allthingsnice (@LisaTheLacebean) September 1, 2016
— Ash (@wzrdash) September 1, 2016
— Linda (@__LindaN) September 1, 2016
— Zukhanyé (@theezkay) September 1, 2016
— Princess Petty (@Patty_Grace) September 1, 2016
— thigh ambassador? (@Mijeaux) September 1, 2016
— ???? Enyonam ???? (@Black_coco17) September 1, 2016
It’s heartening to see such body-positive movements pick up pace, and women taking pride in their bodies – of all shapes and sizes – instead of conforming to unrealistic and unhealthy stereotypes.