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Wellness > Mental Health

I’m In Love With Florence Pugh’s Knees: Self-Love Advice From a Certified Fangirl

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SLU chapter.

While scouring pictures from the 2022 Venice Film Festival for my one true love, Harry Styles, it was impossible not to stop and admire the goddess that is Florence Pugh. Although “Don’t Worry Darling” headlines were full of drama, including, but not limited to Harry Styles’ rumored spitting on Chris Pine, it is my personal opinion that every headline should have mentioned the absolute looks Pugh served. Her Valentino black glitter tulle dress truly showed Pugh’s elegance on the red carpet and even Chris Pine stopped to get a picture of Pugh for his own. Clearly, Florence Pugh is the main character, and I’m here for it. 

I was particularly fond of the Valentino matching purple set she wore upon arriving in Venice that she accessorized, of course, with an Aperol spritz and her nana, affectionately known as Granzo Pat. My second favorite part of this outfit, besides the fact she was never seen in it without her Granzo, was a realization: Florence Pugh’s knees look like mine.  

Pugh has recently made some bold fashion choices that have left the Internet reeling. Everyone seems to have an opinion in the comments of her Instagram posts. Florence Pugh is not new to criticism surrounding the way she presents her body, and she’s also not new to addressing it. In an Instagram post from July of this year she wrote, “Thankfully, I’ve come to terms with the intricacies of my body that make me, me. I’m happy with all of the ‘flaws’ that I couldn’t bear to look at when I was 14.” Even if Florence did not publicly defend herself, her body or her fashion choices, she has a large and growing fanbase online that will take anyone to task who dares to insult their queen. I am happy to say that I would do the same. Nobody is allowed to say anything bad about my darling Florence Pugh. 

If I had seen any negative comment on the night of the Venice Film Festival or any night about Florence Pugh’s knees I wouldn’t have logged off Twitter until whoever made that comment had been soundly reassured of their stupidity. I will not stand for anyone making a negative comment about Florence Pugh, or her knees, so why is it that I think and say horrible things about my knees? I have Florence Pugh’s knees. Why do I love them on her, and hate them on me? 

I’ve played competitive soccer for almost as many years as I’ve been alive. Add on a few years of competitive volleyball and there is no question that my legs are muscular. I could take a man, or two, out with just my right thigh. Since starting college, I haven’t played sports to the level I have all my life. All this to say, my obviously muscular legs don’t have the same purpose they once did. I am left teamless but with the muscles that I used to need. My knees look strong. I had coaches and weights classes that ensured I would never tear an ACL and my knees look like it. And I hate them. All the time. I don’t think they look good in shorts, pants, skirts or a glamorous Valentino dress. On Florence Pugh, however, my knees are gorgeous. They are perfect. They are beautiful. 

I had a similar realization with Taylor Swift. In Swift’s “Miss Americana” documentary she describes the pressure she was under early in her career to stay thin. Following the “death of her reputation,” Swift took the time to regain her healthy weight. At the same time, she wrote, arguably, one of the best albums of all time. The difference in appearance of Swift between her 1989 World Tour and her Reputation Tour became bone chillingly apparent after her discussion of her struggles in “Miss Americana.” If I did not know she was struggling with an eating disorder I would not think twice about her appearance prior to 2018. But, since she opened up about it, it is clear how much healthier she was during and following her Reputation era. 

Plus, not to objectify women in any way, Taylor Swift was hot during her Reputation era. The black lipstick, the snakes, the outfits. I am in awe of her. I have watched and rewatched the “Reputation Stadium Tour” on Netflix more times than is probably healthy. Taylor is captivating through her music, her confidence, the dancing, all the feelings, the lyrics and the energy. I cry everytime because, even from across a computer screen, four years later, I can feel the energy. I feel how truly alive she is. And, even better, I see myself in her. 

Taylor Swift and I have the same thighs. We have thick thighs. We have muscular, dance-on-your-sold-out-stadium-tour thighs. I love Taylor Swift’s thighs. I do not always love mine. Would I have the confidence to wear the outfits Taylor does and dance in front of thousands of people? Absolutely not. I barely like to walk around in shorts, just in case I catch a glimpse of my own legs in windows or mirrors. At the same time, when Taylor opens up about her own body image issues, I scream over my screen that she’s perfect. I need her to love herself the way that I love her. If I ever see anyone make a comment about her appearance, they’re dead to me. Taylor is perfect. Her body is perfect. Her thighs are perfect. Taylor has put in the work to love her body and her thighs. I am in awe of her, constantly, but I say horrible things to myself about my thighs. How can I adore Taylor’s thighs and hate mine? 

When I’m in a healthy state of mind revolving my personal body image I can recognize that the things I hate about myself I love on other people. Not just because I have Taylor’s thighs or Florence Pugh’s knees, but also because I can recognize that everyone has imperfections. Have you ever seen a picture of Harry Styles at 19? Harry was successful and made everyone fall in love with him, but he had acne. And not just acne, but bad acne. It doesn’t matter though, because an imperfection doesn’t make a person irrelevant. 

I want to make one thing clear. I’m not saying that Florence Pugh’s knees are ugly, or that Taylor Swift’s thighs are big, or that Harry Styles is gross with his acne. It is impossible for me to think that Florence Pugh, Taylor Swift or Harry Styles are ugly, or even less than perfect. I see them differently than I see myself. I see them as the people who acted in movies that made me cry, or wrote that one lyric that I will repeat to myself every day until I die. Yes, they are all beautiful human beings, but they mean more to me than that. 

My point is I have Harry Styles’s acne, I have Taylor Swift’s thighs and I definitely have Florence Pugh’s knees. I love Harry Styles with acne. I think he looks adorable. I love Taylor Swift’s thighs. Her Reputation tour proved that thick thighs save lives. Florence Pugh, in my eyes, can do no wrong. She is a beautiful human being. 

Not just this, but if I take several further steps back, I can recognize that Harry Styles’ acne is what a human face looks like at 19. I can realize that Taylor’s and my thighs are necessary for carrying the rest of our bodies around and that Florence Pugh’s and I’s knees are what normal, healthy human knees look like.  

I recognize everyone has imperfections, but why can I defend said imperfections on someone else, while I hate and try to destroy them on me? Why is it so easy for me to defend the people I love, but not myself? I don’t have an easy answer for that. Maybe it simply is that everyone is their own personal worst critic. When the media is full of corrected smiles and altered human beings, it is hard to recognize the realness of what it is that makes people. 

On the days I hate my thighs and my knees, or when I’m desperately trying to scrub off my acne, I have to remember that they are beautiful. That I have Florence Pugh’s knees. That if I was walking a red carpet with a fan base who loved me like I love Florence Pugh, I’d have an army on Twitter ready to defend anyone who pointed out any kind of imperfection. On the days where I hate myself, I have to be my own fangirl. I have to recognize that every part of me is beautiful and worth fighting someone on Twitter for. At the very least, I can see that Florence Pugh is beautiful, Taylor Swift is beautiful, Harry Styles is beautiful and, because I see pieces of them in me, I have to believe that I am beautiful too. 

If you’re reading this, I hope you stop and think about the people in your life that you believe are beautiful. I want you to find pieces of them in yourself so that on the days you struggle to believe that you are worthy you know that, just like the people you admire, you are. If even that seems impossible, just know, I’d log onto Twitter for you and defend you myself. I’ll defend you from yourself on the days when you’re your worst critic, and I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that I think Florence Pugh would too. 

Ada Heller

Fordham '24

One tall Kansas goof with a lot of words to share. Busy choosing the path of her favorite resistance, not the path of least resistance.