How #ThighReading Is Boosting Young Women's Self-Esteem

by Nina Braca

#ThighReading just might be the most body-positive hashtag of 2015, and it's steadily gaining steam on Twitter.

People of all ages and body types are tweeting pics of their thighs in order to celebrate their imperfections.

The term was coined by Twitter user and body-positive advocate @princess_labia (aka "Emo Slut"), who first tweeted, "palm readings <<<< thigh readings" with a picture of her stretch marks on July 20.

The woman behind the @princess_labia account, who is an actor, writer and student in New York City, told Elite Daily:

"I was sitting on my couch (I lounge around naked a lot) looking at my thighs and feeling the grooves of my stretch marks, and the thought that they looked like lifelines, like a palm reading, just came to me. I tweet about my body 'imperfections' pretty frequently, so I didn't think this was going to be something my followers responded to differently than most other things. But girls started sending back pictures of their thigh readings, and then it just went on from there."

By the end of the week, many of @princess_labia's 10k plus followers had joined in on the trend.

The aim of #ThighReading is to post pictures of legs, thighs and other body parts that might have scars, stretch marks or cellulite.

These areas would normally be seen as "ugly," and we need to acknowledge that everyone has imperfections that shouldn't be hidden.

@princess_labia told Elite Daily:

"There are so many faces and body types and features that girls never get to see reflected back at them. Girls have tweeted back at me that they had no idea so many women have stretch marks, and that's so sad, right? Something that is as normal, common and beautiful as stretch marks is something we've been taught to be ashamed of, to be alone with."

Here are just some of the inspiring tweets from the #ThighReading movement:

"Not many stretchies but my bruises and countless lil spider veins make cute thigh art  #thighreading" — @goshdarnbxtch "#thighreading luv ur cellulite and stretch marks, kids" — @Gundams_Waifu "#thighreading it's okay to have stretch marks and cellulite; everyone does #idontscareasily #lightningbolts" — @xslutever

And this isn't the first hashtag campaign that @princess_labia has pioneered. In August 2014, she began what is called the #SELFIEARMY, where Twitter users tweet pictures of themselves in effort to celebrate and normalize the ultra-stigmatized "selfie."

She tells Elite Daily:

"Historically, men have been the artist and women have been the muse, and selfie army is about taking our right to be both, but it's bigger than that, too. It's about representation. Here's an example I always give: Women's hair commercials don't even show hair on legs. I'm not waiting around for them to put stretch marks in Victoria's Secret."

@princess_labia insists there is no such thing as too much body-positive content.

She tells Elite Daily:

"When I think I spend too much energy focused on body positivity and self celebration, I remind myself that suicide is the number one killer of teenage girls worldwide.

By 14, nearly half of American girls have dieted and nearly half of first through fourth grade girls wish they were thinner. Women and girls are literally dying to look like the images they see."

@princess_labia believes both #thighreading and the #selfiearmy have helped her and her followers gain a new perspective about being a body positive woman in 2015.

She tells Elite Daily:

"I've gotten countless messages from girls who've said the selfie army has helped them accept themselves in all their imperfections. I love myself so much more than I did a year ago (Selfie Army turns 1 in August!), and I owe that to this community."

We owe so much to you too, @princess_labia!