Is The #BellyButtonChallenge Just Another Way To Make You Feel Bad About Your Body?

This viral selfie trend is sweeping the internet, and we reckon it's potentially harmful, both for your body image and your self esteem

belly button challenge

Remember the thigh gap phenomenon that saw girls posting pics of the space between their legs in a bid to show off their slender figures? Well, now there’s a new potentially damaging body-conscious craze; it’s called the #BellyButtonChallenge and it’s just gone viral.

But, uh, what is it?

The challenge started on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, and has seen thousands of girls attempting to wrap their arms behind their backs and around their waists to prove they have a “good figure.” The idea is that if you’re ‘slim enough’ you should be able to reach around and touch your belly button with your fingers.

Bodies come in all different shapes and sizes.

But what does that mean for those of us who can’t even get our hands around our hips let alone our midriffs? Medical experts agree that it’s a potentially dangerous way of measuring your health, with very limited science to back it up.

“Social media challenges like these can stoke comparison and body insecurity, especially for those struggling with disordered eating,” American National Eating Disorder Association program director Claire Mysko told ABC News. Another doctor added that someone who’s very slim could be “just as unhealthy as someone who weighs 400 pounds.”

Psychotherapist Kay Ferriter agrees. “I believe that any general measurement given to women to determine whether they’re a healthy weight is completely unreliable and a bad idea for women’s self image,” she explains. “Bodies come in all different shapes and sizes and it’s impossible to determine a healthy weight based on something like this.”

So far the hashtag associated with the craze (which translates to “reach your belly button from behind to show you have a good figure” in English) has been used a crazy 130 million times.

We say give this body-shaming craze the elbow. A healthy body image has nothing to do with being able to jam your fingers into your belly button.

Psst! Had enough of body-shaming? This summer we’ve launched the #StopTheShame campaign. Here’s what it’s all about and how YOU can get involved.