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Social media perpetuates negative body-images, targeting young people
Due to social distancing, I’ve found myself aimlessly scrolling through TikTok — the video-sharing app that’s been predicted to reach over a billion users by sometime this year — for hours on end each day. (Yeah, we’re blaming social distancing — definitely not due to my procrastination tendencies.)
A few weeks ago, I noticed workouts on TikTok targeting getting rid of hip dips. According to Healthline, “hip dips are the inward depression along the side of your body, just below the hip bone … Instead of the outer edges of your hips following curves that look like they were drawn using a protractor, they have indentations.”
These indentations may be quite pronounced or subtle. They’re also natural. Training specialist for Freeletics fitness app, David Wiener, told Women’s Health magazine that hip dips are caused by the shape of your pelvis, even if they’re not noticeable. “If reduced to a skeleton, all of us would have an indentation where the hip bone meets the top of the thigh. Hip dips are a normal part of your body’s structure.”
But it’s not just TikTok where people are sharing their workout routines to get rid of hip dips. Twitter and Instagram are also common places for people to talk about body trends.
To all the girls with hip dips, how does it feel to be Gods favorite?— ｋｅｌｓｅｙ (@caloricranberry) April 1, 2020
seriously does anyone have any good tips to get rid of hip dips or is it just impossible— shannon (@mustbshan) April 3, 2020
Not everyone agrees with the shaming of hip dips, though. Many are calling out the trend for being anti body-positive and for bringing attention to something that really isn’t an issue to begin with.
I didn’t even know what hip dips WERE until social media and now i’m insecure about something I didn’t even know was considered “bad” ?? tired of the body types that we are literally born with being treated like fucking fashion trends that are “in” or “out” like what the hell man— m (@okaishawty) April 1, 2020
“Tired of the body types that we are literally born with being treated like fucking fashion trends that are ‘in’ or ‘out’ like what the hell man,” one Twitter user wrote.
I will never forgive the internet for telling me that hip dips are a thing to be insecure about— chaos demon (@lankywitch) April 2, 2020
Why has something natural, that everyone has, suddenly become the latest thing to shame? It wouldn’t be the first time body parts became an obsession that were either glorified or ridiculed.
Remember in the 2012-13 era, when thigh gaps were all the rage? Tumblr was filled with Victoria Secret-looking models posting their thigh gaps, workout routines and diets on how to achieve the look quickly became viral.
I have hip dips. And that’s OK. I don’t have a thigh gap, that’s OK too.
The problem with thigh gaps, Toblerone tunnels and ab cracks, is that they are placing an extensive amount of pressure on a certain body type that not everyone has. There were even surgeries created to give the look of a thigh gap on people.
Ryerson counsellor Colleen Conroy-Amato said we need to see some of these body trends, such as thigh gaps or an “S-Curve” body, as something unattainable and the pursuit of attaining them as mentally unhealthy. “Just like we cannot change our genetically decided and predetermined ‘height’ — other than adding heels.”
Conroy-Amato said body trends online can be positive or negative. “If you are conscious of hip dips and thigh gaps, the good thing is you can find solace online with others struggling, or people giving life hacks.”
Personally, I wouldn’t even be self-conscious in the first place about these body parts if they weren’t plastered on social media and marketed as ideal or not ideal. I never would have thought twice about my hip dips had I not seen multiple videos telling me I should work hard to get rid of them.
“Body dysmorphia robs people of enjoying life and living in the moment,” said Conroy-Amato. “It doesn’t discriminate.”
This discontent and insecurity carries over into other aspects of myself, too. From my pores to my nose, to my jawline— constantly seeing people fixate over every aspect about themselves online makes me do the same.
Conroy-Amato agrees. “We live in a time where you can access treatments and surgery for imperfections — this beauty and fitspo industry fuels [on] people’s dissatisfaction,” she said.
“At the end of the day, nothing is more attractive than self-confidence and feeling good about what you have been given.”