Our society loves to spread body positivity but always creates trends that cater to specific body types, and right now, “heroin chic” is at the forefront.
“Heroin chic” is a phrase that began in the 1990s, inspired by heroin users and how they typically look: very skinny and pale with dark circles under the eyes and stringy hair. This style was popularized by famous models like Kate Moss and Jaime King.
People thought “heroin chic” would be left in the ‘90s but after The New York Post published an article titled “Bye-bye booty: Heroin chic is back,” the term was brought back to light. Adriana Diaz, the writer of the article, mainly spoke on how the body type is subtly coming back into current fashion alongside low-rise jeans and Uggs.
Diaz’s article blew up all over social media, facing lots of backlash and criticism. Not only does it give us a peek at the future of fashion, but so too does it show the negative effects recovering the phrase “heroin chic” can have on people. It is a trend that goes hand in hand with glorifying eating disorders and how to eat less to get a “desirable” figure.
Likewise, a recent trend in having small portions of food—AKA aesthetic food—as a whole meal. The plate often consists only of celery sticks, grapes and a rice cake or two or something similar. Many have posted pictures of this on Pinterest or TikTok as breakfast, lunch or dinner “inspiration.” These “meals” seem to be more like snacks; those plates of food cannot contain all the nutrients we need for our bodies.
And the public are not the only ones feeding into this mindset—so are celebrities. In her article, Diaz also covers how Khloe and Kim Kardashian are following the “heroin chic” trend—there have been drastic changes in their bodies from having a curvier body shape to a slimmer figure. And Kim Kardashian specifically very notably went on a dangerous diet, shedding 16 pounds in three weeks to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s dress at the 2022 Met Gala. This is not a great influence for Kardashian’s young fans.
You may be questioning why “heroin chic” would resurface, especially in a time when society is all about body positivity. This phrase is not meant for body inclusivity, because it tells people they must be thin to fit a certain style, which is not good for anyone. People try to encourage more body inclusivity and teach people the importance of loving themselves all the time, but phrases like “heroin chic” threaten to undo all that work and make us rethink what they are telling us. Should we listen to the media and its claims about the “perfect body?” It influences us to want to look like the Kardashians and Bella Hadid rather than have body shapes like Lizzo and Megan Thee Stallion. More than that, it only mentions people of different body shapes when it is convenient to them—they only promote body positivity superficially.
In her article, Diaz also points out the shift in the message of body positivity and how it may have begun to change.
“The skinnies sashaying down the runway are a drastic shift from the ‘slim thick’ and body positivity that had been in vogue in recent years,” says Diaz.
Every trend always has a certain body type that must be required, yet they say fashion is for all sizes. TikTok influencer Brooklyn Dallen tests these trends in her series called “Skinny or Fit,” judging whether an outfit actually looks nice or if a slim waist is used as an accessory and makes the outfit complete.
Likewise, TikTok restricts videos of plus size or curvier women in two-piece bathing suits, but when someone of a slimmer figure shows off their body, the video explodes with views.
It cannot be denied that these standards have poisoned body inclusivity efforts. So whether or not you like or dislike the phrase, “heroin chic,” we can all agree it may not influence everyone greatly.