The Belly Button Challenge and Thinspo – More Proof That The World Is Sick and Crazy

Waist Monochrome Woman Measure Image: Public Domain, Pixabay
Posted by / July 6, 2015 / 2 Comments


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.[contextly_auto_sidebar]

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:

http://anaisabeauty.weebly.com/uploads/3/1/4/7/31471715/7207066_orig.png

From an “Ana is beauty” website with tips on how to be anorexic and bulimic.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/75/8d/d1/758dd168076f660dfbeffb6b21b8699a.jpg

From someone’s “Thinspiration” Pin board.

https://theproanalifestyleforever.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/now-check-out-how-pinterests-thinspo-war-got-started.jpg

From a “Pro-Ana” website that considers anorexia a religion and offers tips.

http://www.myproana.com/uploads/gallery/album_1935/gallery_20754_1935_22659.jpg

From what claims to be an eating disorder recovery group, but is actually filled with pro ana/mia content.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/9b/b1/1b/9bb11b3c187006c57e2258c5a35d013c.jpg

From a pro-ana tips Pin board.

https://restrictedeater.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/wpid-wp-1434148860739.jpeg

From a blog called “RestrictedEater” where a mother/wife journals her anorexic lifestyle.

http://data3.whicdn.com/images/1945148/large.jpg

From a pro-ana collection on WeHeartIt. Interestingly, when I clicked for the full-size image, I got this message: https://www.tumblr.com/psa/tagged/thinspo

https://anadiaryofme.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/thinspo-2.jpg

From AnaDiaryOfMe, where a college girl journals her return to anorexia and her plan to weigh 85 pounds at 5’4″.

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.

About Briana Blair

Artist, writer, ordained interfaith minister, Dr. of Metaphysics and passionate oddball. I love to create, and I love bringing knowledge and joy to others. I've been an artist for 35 years, a writer for 26 and a Pagan for 22. And I'm just getting started!
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2 Comments

    Jaime Heidel

    This is incredibly disturbing. I had only caught hints of this stuff here and there. I had no idea it had such a cult following. Horrible!

      Briana Blair

      It is messed up. This thin craze is way out of hand. I feel so bad for the girls and women suffering with this and thinking it’s beauty.

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