My chiropractor is manipulating my shoulder joint, as I tell him about the new trend I learned about today (and you don’t even have to dump a bucket of cold water on your head!). The belly button challenge – a trend on Instagram, where people post pictures of themselves, trying to reach around their back and touch their own belly buttons with one arm.
Scott’s facial expression is incredulous. “So, why do people do it?”, he asks, wrinkling his forehead. “It means that you are skinny”, I shrug.
“Or that your arms are long”, he sighs. “Or that you have great shoulder mobility”, I add.
The movement seems to have originated in China. If you thought body image is fucked up in North America, you should try Asia. Even a very superficial look into existing research, suggests that:
perceptions of being overweights and attempts to lose weight were highest in Asian countries, where body weights are already generally low [abstract]
research participants from China report the lowest levels of body satisfaction when compared to those of European descent [abstract]
And on, and on. [If you are not in the mood for a scientific article, check out this great essay “Fat for an Asian”, which discusses the pressure in Asian cultures to be “naturally perfect”].
So, if you do not have enough reasons to feel bad about yourself already (between commercials suggesting you had bad breath, and magazines hinting that you should lose 20 pounds to get that bikini body), go ahead. Try it.
You may even reach your belly button. If you are skinny enough. Or your arms are long enough. Or your shoulders mobile enough.
And then you better make sure that you have a thigh gap too. And bikini bridge. I’ll be over here, meanwhile. Living my life and shit.
My favorite photo, by the way, was this one:
Oh, and for the record…
If you, for some reason, do need to reach your belly button, that’s not the best way to do it.