The Endless Cycle of “Body Trends” And Why It Needs to Be Stopped

Content warning: includes talk of eating disorders as well as drug addiction


As the years go by, so do popular trends. From clothing and makeup, to music and media. The creation of the internet has allowed for these to flourish and spread all around the world, allowing many people to connect over their shared interests.


Not all trends, however, are as harmless as a salmon bowl or whipped coffee.

Praise of specific body types as well as certain physical features and attributes has unfortunately been relevant for a long while, many of which being either obtained through surgery or extremely unhealthy and dangerous means.  


 Let’s travel back a few years, to the time of leg-warmers and Seinfield, the early 90s.

 The term “heroin chic” had begun a rampage on the 90s fashion scene. The name stemmed from the characteristics associated with the look, those being pale skin, dark under-eye circles, and an extremely thin physique, which people associated with heavy drug abuse carried. These characteristics ran rampant in early 90s high fashion. American supermodel Gia Carangi is credited as the originator of the “trend.” Many models suffered from eating disorders, as well as drug addictions, in order to achieve and maintain the look, inspiring many youth attempting the same in order to “fit in” with the look. 


 The rise of socialite and pop culture icon Paris Hiton in the early 2000s brought many of the similar values of the heroin chic craze. Disordered eating became a normalized thing in movies, TV shows, and other forms of media, such as the cult-classic teen comedy film Mean Girls, which came out in 2004 and features one of the characters obsessively eating weight-loss nutrient bars. 


Now let’s get a little more recent. In 2016, The “hourglass” figure shape had become extremely desired, hip injections and Brazilian buttlifts became increasingly popular as others sought to achieve the look. Also in 2016, the popularization of the “Kylie Jenner lips” exploded. The reality TV star had gotten lip fillers that sent waves through the internet. This popularization led to a backlash by others, many being people of color, for the obvious racism this trend shed light on. For years, plump lips were a feature that many people of color were made fun of for. But, the second a white influencer had the feature, it was desired. 


In 2022, body love and acceptance is becoming more normalized, however, we have so much work to do in order to repair the damage of decades of being told our bodies aren’t good enough and that we had to change them to match what’s “in” at the time, otherwise we aren’t considered attractive or desirable. The theme of making only specific types of bodies “aesthetic” or “trend worthy” is so extremely damaging to anyone exposed to the trends. 


Trends of different eyeliner shapes and hairstyles are a fun way of connecting with others, as well as feeling comfortable in our own skin. But our bodies aren’t clothing, they’re not something we can take off with a makeup wipe. They are us. They are who we are, and they are never something that should be out of style, or “so last year”. They keep us alive and every single part of every single one is beautiful. Body love and acceptance is the only body type trend that should be celebrated and talked about. And, as for trends, let’s keep the Doc Martens and lose the thinspo.