It's ~bikini~ season, which means laying out in the sunshine, taking an aggressive number of photos with various quirky pool floats, bottomless rosé, and, unfortunately, a disproportionate number of body image issues. While summertime can be triggering body image-wise for any number of reasons, perhaps none is quite as well-used, cliché, or tired as the infamous "hot dog legs" shot; what started out as a meme has now become its own unrealistic body standard. Luckily, one woman took to Instagram to destroy "hot dog legs" and the perception of ~glamour~ that comes with them once and for all.
Imre Çeçen, a popular fitness and lifestyle Instagrammer from Amsterdam, flipped the narrative on its head with her June 4 post. Whereas "hot dog legs" usually features a side-by-side image of hot dogs and a woman's legs (so the user has to "guess" which skinny cylindrical thing is food, and which is a human woman), Çeçen instead did a picture of her "hot dog legs" beside a picture of her actual, relaxed legs in a sitting position. While we shouldn't live in a world where it's remarkable to see a woman's legs in their regular state on social media, it does make a powerful point about the absurd lengths we go to in order to posture ourselves for social media and feed into harmful standards, when we could be actually out in the world and enjoying ourselves.
"Anyone familiar with the concept of having all "normal" legs when you're standing but as soon as you sit down they transform into huge piles of meat?" Çeçen asks. "This is the most NORMAL thing ever yet us girls seem to be so self conscious about it ... We've just lost touch with reality because on the internet all we see are those freaking hot dog legs."
Çeçen taps on a particularly dangerous vein in social media trends — it is truly no wonder that Instagram is the worst app for your mental health, considering that many popular accounts promote unrealistic and even unhealthy body standards to their followers, from restrictive diets to "gymorexia". Studies have also suggested that women, particularly women ages 18-25, are particularly susceptible to negative perceptions of their own bodies as a result of Instagram use.
It's important to note, particularly in this season when it becomes much more of a prominent discussion, that the idea of "beach bodies" as it was projected to us growing up is a myth; all bodies are beach bodies, the same way all bodies are good bodies, regardless of whatever the more visible body type happens to be on social media at the time. The key is to make all kinds of bodies visible and representative of the beauty we experience in the real world, not just the postured version of it we're constantly bombarded with in ads and Instagram posts.
Çeçen is just one of many bloggers who are taking strides to make that reality happen, hopefully making Instagram a happier, healthier place for expression and appreciation. For more awesomely feminist and body-positive Instagrammers, check out Bustle's round up of here! In the meantime, if you'll excuse me ... I am weirdly craving a hot dog now. BRB.