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.Â
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.
ItÂ urged young girls to plump up their lips by inserting themÂ 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.
â€” TMZ (@TMZ) April 20, 2015
2. The thigh gap â€œThigh gapâ€Â is another beauty standard trumpeted about on the internet. Even feminist icon and all round beauty Queen Bey canâ€™t seem to escape the pressure to prove that the tops of her thighs donâ€™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,Â saying that she couldnâ€™t care less about supposedly needing a Â â€œthigh gapâ€.
â€œItâ€™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? Iâ€™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,â€ she said.
3. The belly-button challenge
The belly-button challenge is a bizarre and extreme form of fat shaming. It goes like this:Â reach behind your back, then try to wrap yourÂ arm around their waist and touch yourÂ belly-button.Â Because skinny is beautiful and not skinny isÂ a source of shame.
è·Ÿé£Ž#åæ‰‹æ‘¸è‚šè„ A photo posted by ?Selma Hu èƒ¡æ™“æ·¼ (@hu_selma) on
There are many reasons why this challenge is just wrong, but if youâ€™re looking for a moreÂ scientific explanation the Atlantic explainsÂ that: â€œItâ€™s actually a test of shoulder flexibility, not fitness. The shoulder has the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body. If youâ€™re looking to impress people, how about telling them that fact?â€ Despite the inanity of this supposed body measurement, more than10,000 Instagrammers proudly shared their challenge results. And to that we say:
Â Love your body as it is! #bellybuttonchallenge #loveyourbody #bellybutton #fuckit #sexytummy #whocares #challenge #daily #fuckbellybuttonchallenge #bellychallenge Â A photo posted by Nathalie En Niels (@nathalieenniels) on
4. The collarbone challenge
â€œA way to evaluate your weight and count your cash at the same time? Yes, please!â€ said teens around the world. This ludicrous challenge had girls trying to see who couldÂ balance the mostÂ coins along their collarbones becauseÂ 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 â€œDon’t judgeâ€ challenge And that brings us up to the â€œDonâ€™t judgeâ€Â challenge, arguableÂ 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.
â€” Boobie Miles II â›½ï¸ (@jimmykid6) July 6, 2015
â€” 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 â€“ not just by talking heads but by the same youthful demographic one would expect to partake in them â€“ is anything to go by, perhaps there is still hope that we will soon see the end of them.
– Featured image via Twitter