In recent years social media platforms like Instagram have become a playground for young people perpetuating stereotypes about the ideal body and shaming those who don’t conform to these ideals. FIRDAUS KHAN rounds up five damaging body-shaming challenges that need to stop.
1. The Kylie Jenner Challenge
This challenge was inspired by reality TV star, Kylie Jenner, whose cosmetically enhanced lips were the topic of much discussion online.
It urged young girls to plump up their lips by inserting them into shot glasses, juice bottles, Pringles tins or whatever else came to hand, and sucking on them. Some teens got the sexy results envisioned; others, not so much.
— TMZ (@TMZ) April 20, 2015
2. The thigh gap “Thigh gap” is another beauty standard trumpeted about on the internet. Even feminist icon and all round beauty Queen Bey can’t seem to escape the pressure to prove that the tops of her thighs don’t meet. But this ideal is almost unattainable for all but the skinniest of women, leading some to ask what lengths women and girls will go to to achieve this. Instagram posts, like this one, can quickly switch from talk about eating well and being healthy to self-condemnation.
EWWW. So my thighs are still the same but I lost five pounds from the #ThighGapChallenge , I would have lost more but I ate fast food this weekend and was kinda lazy but yeah. Sorry for my fat thighs taking up your screen, I just want to post it each week to show results so yeah.. #fat #legs #thunderthighs #IWantToBeSkinny #LosingWeight #WeightLoss #FivePounds A photo posted by PLEASE CLICK LINK AND VOTE! (@alltimelarryy) on
After being body shamed on Facebook for her lack of visible thigh gap, Australian model Robyn Lawley wrote about why the trend made her mad, saying that she couldn’t care less about supposedly needing a “thigh gap”.
“It’s just another tool of manipulation that other people are trying to use to keep me from loving my body. Why would I want to starve and weaken my natural body size? I’m not saying women who have it naturally are unattractive. But I would have to change my entire frame just to achieve something that seems so trivial,” she said.
3. The belly-button challenge
The belly-button challenge is a bizarre and extreme form of fat shaming. It goes like this: reach behind your back, then try to wrap your arm around their waist and touch your belly-button. Because skinny is beautiful and not skinny is a source of shame.
跟风#反手摸肚脐 A photo posted by ?Selma Hu 胡晓淼 (@hu_selma) on
There are many reasons why this challenge is just wrong, but if you’re looking for a more scientific explanation the Atlantic explains that: “It’s actually a test of shoulder flexibility, not fitness. The shoulder has the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body. If you’re looking to impress people, how about telling them that fact?” Despite the inanity of this supposed body measurement, more than10,000 Instagrammers proudly shared their challenge results. And to that we say:
Love your body as it is! #bellybuttonchallenge #loveyourbody #bellybutton #fuckit #sexytummy #whocares #challenge #daily #fuckbellybuttonchallenge #bellychallenge A photo posted by Nathalie En Niels (@nathalieenniels) on
4. The collarbone challenge
“A way to evaluate your weight and count your cash at the same time? Yes, please!” said teens around the world. This ludicrous challenge had girls trying to see who could balance the most coins along their collarbones because concave clavicles are essential to the perfect body.
The fad, which started on Chinese social media platform Weibo, soon crossed over to the English-speaking world. 5. The “Don’t judge” challenge And that brings us up to the “Don’t judge” challenge, arguable the most heinous of them all. The challenge has young people sporting large glasses, fake unibrows and acne spots, among other things, then fading to a fully made-up version of themselves. Hmmmm….
I HAD to do it one last time #DontJudgeChallenge A video posted by RN (@the_dopest_ethiopian) on
This time though, the backlash was swift.
— Boobie Miles II ⛽️ (@jimmykid6) July 6, 2015
— Tyrone Peiris (@TyronePeiris) July 6, 2015
These types of body-shaming viral videos seem to pop up every couple of months, but if the recent trend towards interrogating these challenges – not just by talking heads but by the same youthful demographic one would expect to partake in them – is anything to go by, perhaps there is still hope that we will soon see the end of them.
– Featured image via Twitter