Online Trends Can Leave Women Feeling Bad About Their Bodies
Last summer The Ice Bucket Challenge went viral encouraging people to dump buckets of cold water on their heads in support of ALS. Now just in time for this summer a new trend on social media challenges participants to reach around their back and touch their belly buttons. Participants are then supposed to post pictures of themselves online. Since the challenge went viral people around the globe are uploading their images on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram.
The test is supposed to prove how fit a person is. More truthfully it tests shoulder flexibility. But doctors are warning there is a big difference between skinny and healthy. And they worry that the challenge, which started in China, may be promoting unrealistic and dangerous misconceptions about weight and wellness.
Dr. Carolyn levers-Landis told ABC News, “It’s concerning people are using body differences to promote possibly unhealthy eating practices or ways in which people can compare themselves negatively to others.”
Unfortunately the trend is just one of many that has women hating on their bodies. Earlier this year women were persuaded to consider their “mon pubis”, the mound of flesh on the pubic bone. Chat sites cataloged women’s concerns about being unable to lose their fat “down there.”
The “mon pubis” trend followed the “thigh gap” in which people would stand with their feet together, showing off slim thighs that did not touch. After that came the bikini bridge. The Urban Dictionary defines the bridge as “when bikini bottoms are suspended between the two hip bones, causing a space between the bikini and lower abdomen.”
The bikini bridge trend was sparked by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition which featured model Hannah Davis pulling down her suit to show a completely flat pubic bone. Now instead of just worrying about tightening sagging breasts and buttocks through surgery, women can have monsplasty, a procedure to reduce and tighten the mon pubis.
Experts worry these unhealthy weight loss crazes are potentially harming teens and women who try to mirror the unrealistic images they see in magazines, movies and online rather than aiming for healthy and realistic body images. They also warn parents to be aware of the images their children are exposed to.
Along with encouraging parents to model healthy actions and attitudes about their bodies, the National Eating Disorder Association offers suggestions to parents to help their child prevent eating disorders.