The Absurdity of ‘the Belly Button Challenge’

There’s always a new body image based trend targeted at women — encouraging body shaming and self-doubt about their bodies. Remember the controversial ‘thigh gap’ trend? The craze where the gap between a woman’s thighs, particularly at the top of the thighs, had to be large enough to be plainly visible when standing with both feet and knees together? Well, now we have ‘the Belly Button Challenge’ — the latest means of measuring a woman’s attractiveness, according to social media.

So what is ‘the Belly Button Challenge’? Essentially, the challenge involves reaching around your back with your arm and touching your belly button. Being able to do so ‘proves’ that you are thin and fit. In reality the challenge has nothing to do with being slender. James Hamblin, of the Atlantic, says “It’s actually a test of shoulder flexibility, not fitness. The shoulder has the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body.”[1]

Unfortunately, this logic has been ignored by most on social media. The trend, started in China, is now so popular that thousands are uploading photos of themselves trying the challenge, using #thebellybuttonchallenge. Even men are attempting the challenge now. We’re constantly inundated with images of the ‘ideal body’ from the media. Now we’re being challenged to participate in this body shaming farce of a fitness test? No thank you. Young women need to feel positive about their bodies — especially in the age of Photoshop and plastic surgery. They certainly don’t need to be faced with a wholly inaccurate ‘challenge’ that tells them how thin they are, or aren’t.

You’re all beautiful and you don’t need a ridiculous challenge to prove it. Be healthy, and most importantly BE YOU.