A Leg is Just a Leg


Photos from Pinterest

Stylish and trendy and totally breaking the rules.

The amount of stress placed on teenagers to “cover up” and “cover up” train us into believing that there actually is something ridiculously scandalous about our arms and legs, when in reality they are nothing more than bits of flesh. A mere head, torso, arms, and legs make up the very basic caveats which compose the wonders of the human body. Yet despite their simplistic and necessary functions as parts of our bodies, teenagers are forced to cover bodies out of fear of offending the general public.

Picture this: it is the middle of August, and as you prepare for your school day you flick on the television in the corner of your room. The news plays and you take notice of the overly cheery weatherman gesturing to the cartoon-esque suns dancing over a grainy and constantly moving picture of your local area. “Well folks, it’s going to be a scorcher! We’re breaking the 100’s this week with a predicted high of 101 today,” the plastic voice booms. You heave a great sigh. The temperatures that week had been record high and it looks like it is going to stay that way. You select the thinnest cotton t-shirt you own, not that it will help any against the relentless rage of the sun. A long, low groan fills the room and you begrudgingly open your dresser drawer and bring forth your arch nemeses: a pair of blue jeans. Your arm longs to reach for your favorite pair of shorts, much better suited for the weather in this dreadful heat wave, but your brain knows full well that you would be scorned by the evil eye of your elderly, old-fashioned, and all around uptight neighbors.

Flash forward to high noon, the hottest part of the day, with the sun beating vigorously down upon you as you trudge through the nearly visible heat waves across campus. By the time you arrive to class you look as though you had traveled singlehandedly across the Sahara Desert. Sweat beads form on your forehead and gently roll down the slight curve of the cheeks. You are panting slightly as you collapse in your desk and reach for your water bottle, your precious commodity, your liquid gold, guzzling it down despite its own mildly heated temperature. You curse the thick denim suffocating your legs as your two appendages scream for mercy, for relief. You would give anything to be wearing those beloved shorts, the ones snoozing in the top drawer of your dresser, the ones which were so better suited for this unbearable prime of the sun’s aggressive glare.

But this is forbidden.

How dare any human being even suggest bearing their legs in defense against the ramped rage of a heat wave! “Cover your skin or die trying” seems to be the mantra of adults forcing teenagers and children to cover up based on the claims of it being “inappropriate” or “offensive” to others. But what is so upsetting about a bit of leg being exposed? The answer is that it is not, not at all –nor is it inappropriate. The culprit behind these enforced laws is society’s over-sexualization of our most basic anatomical components. A leg is a leg, and an arm is an arm. A shoulder is not the epitome of seduction, and shorts have never been the cause of a political scandal.

This emphasis on conservatism is erroneous and entirely outdated. While a certain amount of coverage is understandable and necessary, the length to which this concept is enforced is a bit of a laughing matter. As long as there is fabric covering everything that needs to be covered, what is the point in going above and beyond?