If somehow you’ve managed to not hear about this yet, there’s this viral craze going around where a person (usually female) reaches their arm behind their back, around their side, and touches their belly button. All of this is done while capturing the moment on a cell phone using the other hand. The trend started in China and has become a worldwide “sensation” in a short period of time. The idea is supposed to be that if you have a waist small enough to allow success in this endeavor, you’re thin and attractive enough. If you can’t, you’re fat and ugly.
As if the thigh gap and bikini bridge weren’t enough! (For those who missed it, the “bikini bridge” is when you lie on your back in a bikini, and you’re so painfully skinny that your hip bones are higher than your stomach, therefore creating a bridge of fabric under which light can be seen.) I am seriously disturbed by the fact that these things keep going viral, these bullshit body image trends that encourage women to be so skinny that they look like swizzle sticks.
I’m not knocking naturally skinny women here. You are what you are, and beauty comes in a lot of shapes. What I am knocking, hard, is this idea that to be attractive you have to be super thin. We’ll ignore the fact that this belly button contortion is actually more bout flexibility than size, and focus on the fact that it’s being used as “thinspo” to get women and girls to lose weight. Just like the gap and bridge, it’s all about a dangerously thin body that can only be achieved by most people through over-exercising and starvation.
On the topic of thinspo… Thinspo is “thin inspiration” or images that females use as “motivation” to lose weight and get smaller, in the hopes of being perceived as more attractive. (Note that all the links in this article are to Google Image searches that will show what I’m talking about.) Thinspo is sick and dangerous. Seriously, the first time I looked it up I almost cried. Some of the images are so disturbing:
I could go on, but you get the idea. This is massively fucked, and as a society we keep encouraging it. We keep putting anorexic models on magazine covers. We keep putting them on runways. We keep shaming celebrities for having so much as an ounce of fat. We expect women to have big tits and big asses with wasp waists and thigh gaps and concave bellies. We act like these things are natural and only fucked up people don’t look like that, when in reality less than 5% of people on the whole planet can look that way naturally. We have taught our women to feel shame and our daughters to hate themselves before they’re even out of grade school.
Why aren’t people standing up against this? Why isn’t every woman on the planet saying “Fuck this! I am not fat, I’m natural! I’m healthy! I do not need to be made to feel like this, and I won’t stand for it!”? Why aren’t they leaving those image-destroying magazines on the shelf and refusing to watch the shows that focus on fitting this twisted ideal? I don’t understand why women are just sitting by and letting it happen while secretly hating their bodies and wishing that they could be thinner or have fuller lips or have a gap just so that they could feel beautiful for one moment. Women are the ones being destroyed by all of this, we need to be the ones to speak out against it.
Write about body image in a positive way. Denounce any media that weight shames or encourages unrealistic appearance standards. Stop buying shit from companies that promote negative body image. Make petitions. Share body positive stuff online, and do it often. Just do something! Stop allowing this to be the way our world goes. Speak up and say enough is enough! Until we have eradicated this kind of shit from our society, there is no such thing as writing about it, talking about it, acting on it or sharing it too much. It is not enough until we have made a change.