I really can’t begin to imagine how difficult it is to be a young woman growing up in today’s world.
As if ‘lipstick bullies’, and internet shaming aren’t bad enough, now there are new social media ‘body challenges’ popping up regularly.
Let’s discuss these for a moment. In case you are unfamiliar, ‘body challenges’ are crazy body ‘ideals’ that basically shame young women into believing that they are somehow lacking if they can’t accomplish these ridiculous challenges. Let’s discuss a few:
Thigh Gap. This one is pretty self-explanatory. No space between your thighs when standing? Well, you’re obviously fat. This is insane. But really, this is easily the least ridiculous of these so-called challenges.
Bikini Bridge. So you have a bikini bridge when you can lie down in a bikini and there is a gap between your belly and your waistband because your hipbones stick out further than your belly. That’s right – we are now promoting protruding bones as a standard of beauty.
Collarbone Challenge. Speaking of protruding bones. This one involves being able to stack quarters on top of your collarbones. Why is this even a thing?!
iPhone 6 Challenge. Ok, bear with me on this, because I don’t totally understand how this has any bearing on weight, build, or beauty, but apparently – according to this challenge – if, when you put your knees together they are wider than an iPhone 6 is long, you fail. That’s right, young women are out there comparing the ‘skinniness’ of there frick frackin’ knees to one another!
Bellybutton challenge. So this getting out of control. This ‘challenge’ involves wrapping your arm around your back to see if your waist is small enough that you can reach your bellybutton. Are you getting this? Being able to wrap your own arm around your body is now how women are deciding if they are skinny enough. I am including a picture of this one, just in case you are having a hard time visualizing this one – because I did.
A4 Paper Challenge. This is by far the most ridiculous of all these body-shaming challenges. It’s pretty simple. Hold up a piece of 11x17 paper vertically. If your body is wider than the paper, you fail the challenge. That’s right, you are somehow less beautiful or not skinny enough if your body is wider than 11 inches.
Obviously social media is to blame for a lot of the perpetuation of these ridiculous ‘standards’, but with so many anti-shaming campaigns out there today, I can’t believe that these challenges are still able to gain traction. Yet, there are tens of thousands of posts out there relating to these challenges.
So what is the solution? First and foremost we – especially women – have got to stop shaming and comparing. No, your body doesn’t look like mine and mine doesn’t look like yours, but different isn’t bad.
Some women have curves, some women don’t. Some are tall, short, fair skinned, dark skinned, blonde, brunette. None of that should be compared to someone else – you are who you are and your only goal should be to be the best version of you. Inside and out.
Don’t the young women of the world have enough to deal with without having to be constantly concerned about whether or not their bodies (which are still developing and changing BTW) meet some unrealistic standard of beauty revolving around the size of a sheet of paper?
We live in a society where women make significantly less money for the same work.
We live in a world where women are shamed if they choose to stay at home and raise a family. Shamed if they choose to forego having a family in favor of a career and shamed if they choose to do both.
We live in a world, that according to a 2013 report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), found that 31 million girls of primary school age were not in school, and about one out of every four young women in developing countries had never completed their primary school education.
We live in a world where millions of women are fighting for health and reproductive rights.
We live in a world where it is estimated that between 2011 and 2020 140 million girls will become child brides. Let me put that in perspective for you – that’s roughly the population of Russia.
These are the causes we should be championing. These are the issues that should be going viral on social media.
So the next time you think to judge a woman based solely on her appearance, think of the young women of the world who just want clean water, a safe place to sleep, or something as simple as a book to read.