I recently came across an article on the dangers of wearing skinny jeans while perusing the People.com website. I’m obsessed with that website. I know way more about the Kardashians than one should having never watched their show. The Canadian One has watched more of their reality show than I have.
Me, reading People.com: “Oh, Kim Kardashian is pregant again.”
Him, nonchalantly: “Oh, she was getting fertility treatment in the episode I saw. It must have worked.”
I should point out he was on a plane at the time and it was the best of bad TV options. Apparently.
Now, I am not avid skinny jean wearer. I am more of a dress-wearing girl all year round. Snowing? Lemme just grab an extra pair of tights for the journey. I have dresses for work, dresses for nights out, dresses for fancy events, dresses for casual events, dresses designated for doing housework in, beach dresses, this-dress-can-withstand-any-washing-machine-at-any-temperature dresses and dresses that can go from day to night in a flash.
I do own two pairs though. A pair of black and a pair of grey. But I find them constricting. I wriggle into them. I do the skinny jean dance to get out of them. A piece of penne can cause waistband issues for hours. And as for a first date outfit…or a third date outfit depending on your…eh, view of what’s appropriate on first dates, it’s a no-go. It’s taken me ten minutes, no lie, to think of a way to word that sentence in a PC way that won’t trigger emails. I have a friend who would purposely not shave her legs on a first date so she wouldn’t be ‘tempted’. This later turned out to be not such a foolproof plan when she bought a razor from a 24hr 7-11 and shaved her legs in the bathroom of a bar with the help of another friend.
The article on People.com did entice me however, not to look into whether or not a pair of skinny jeans could potentially damage your health, but how this small one-off event of the woman helping a family member move and suddenly found herself the subject of a skinny jean study, was covered by the mainstream media. You know how you sometimes read something on the Internet and then suddenly need to know every single thing about it, then 6 hours go by and you look up and wonder why it’s dark outside?
It was like that.
It took all of 1.7 seconds to locate my answer in a stream of panic-inducing headlines.
First on the list was Business Insider with a report on a June 22nd 2015 study by the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry titled “Fashion victim: rhabdomyolysis and bilateral peroneal and tibial neuropathies as a result of squatting in ‘skinny jeans,’”…no, seriously, that was the title of the study.
The article mainly recounts how the woman, while both wearing skinny jeans and squatting while emptying cupboards, began to feel pain and discomfort in her legs which turned out to be nerve and muscle damage in her calves caused by the skinny jeans. She couldn’t walk and crawled to a cab and landed herself in hospital. She’s fine now. The study did, however, mention it may not have been the skinny jeans but the squatting that caused the problem. I’m not a scientist, but I guess with a study sample of one it can be hard to come up with any definites.
ABC News had Dr. Thomas Kimber of the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia, who does not wear skinny jeans himself ( – it states this in the article) quoted as saying, “I think it’s the non-stretchy nature of jeans that might be the problem.”
The BBC went with: ‘Skinny jeans and other hidden health risks in your wardrobe’
In case you’re wondering, the other ‘health risks’ the BBC outs in the article include heels, zip flies – which resulted in 17,616 genital injuries between 2002 and 2010 in the US – tight shirts, earrings, g-strings, and tight underwear, which they state can cause heartburn and acid reflux…I wanna read the study on that.
Can we go back to 17,616 people injuring themselves with zip flies for a second? Zip. Flies. From jeans in general. Not just skinny jeans.
Seventeen thousand six hundred and sixteen people.
The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, Yahoo, CBC, CNBC, NBCNews, The National Post, Live Science, CTV, The Today Show, they all had something to say to add to the panic.
Over at Gizmodo, they went with the very definitive ‘Skinny Jeans Are Bad For Your Health’ headline while Medical News Today had ‘Skinny Jeans Cause Health Problems For Men’ as their article header and CBS had ‘Warning: Tight pants, skinny jeans and Spanx may be hazardous to your health’.
What’s the difference in those last three articles you may wonder? Well, those three articles were published way back in 2012. CBS’s made mention of the heartburn and food digestion problems and Gizmondo’s focused on women suffering lower legs pain while Medical News Today talked about men with UTIs, low sperm counts and, good God this sounds horrible, twisted testicles. 1 in 5 men have experienced a twisted testicle due to skinny jeans wear.
I don’t know, I feel like men have it worse in the jeans-injury department than women. Penises in zippers and twisted testicles…
1 IN 5!
Turns out the dangers of wearing skinny jeans have been around long enough for hipsters to consider adopting a different form of fashion statement. (I’m kidding, Hipsters, I’m kidding. No emails.)
It was when I came across the UK’s National Health Service website that I found my favorite article about the whole event however. Their article reads like your rational BFF sitting you down and telling you ‘The guy you’re dating is an idiot, look at the signs and dump his ass’, imagining, of course, your BFF is the NHS and your boyfriend is skinny jeans articles.
The NHS helpfully points out that the ensuing media frenzy regarding the dangers of skinny jeans have all been started by the ONE Australia patient who suffered leg pain while emptying cupboards, an injury that may not have even been caused by the skinny jeans. They also pointed out that the only reason most media outlets covered the story was because it gave them an excuse to publish lots of pictures of skinny jean wearing celebrities.
I went back to the original People article that kicked off my distracting Googling of ‘skinny jeans danger’ to see if this was true and sure enough, the first thing that popped up was a picture of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in her skinny jeans.
What a waste of several hours of my life. All that time I spent reading medical articles about nerve damage and bladder problems when I could have been reading something much more newsworthy, like Scott Disick falling off the wagon and speculation about Cameron Diaz possibly, maybe, at some point in the future but not now, having a baby. You know, the important things in life.