The #A4waist challenge—in which women compare the size of their waists to the width of a standard A4 sheet of paper—started in China and prompted a huge online backlash. But what do some of the women who participated in the trend say? Why did they take part?
It’s been criticized as irresponsible and potentially unhealthy. The latest craze from China involves mostly women holding up sheets of paper and taking selfies – they “win” if the paper entirely obscures their waist. It’s called the “A4 challenge” after the standard paper size that’s just 21cm (8.3in) across.
Critics—and there were many online—say the challenge, like other similar trends before it, could promote eating disorders and body shaming
So why would a healthy person take part?
Azura Ge is a Chinese student in Boston. She told BBC Trending that she was proud to show off the progress she had made in her fitness sessions.
“A lot of people had a weird assumption that I have anorexia, which I don’t have,” she says. “That’s very interesting for me to think that people actually believe you have to have anorexia to be this skinny.”
After the media coverage of the #A4waist challenge, Ge started to receive negative comments on her Instagram feed. Some people were saying she should take the photo down or that she was underweight. But she objects to the idea that people posting these images are setting a bad example for others, and argues that Chinese people are in general predisposed to being thinner than average, and that ideas of the ideal body shape vary from culture to culture.
“Growing up, I think this is normal, I think this is what people are supposed to be like,” she says. “My mum is 50 years of age and she’s a mother of two. She probably won’t fit into that piece of paper, but she’s exactly the same weight as me.
“The nature of our diet is very different. We don’t eat as much pizza or fast food. I don’t see the harm in it.”
Another Chinese student told BBC Trending that she posted a challenge picture in order to show off her recent weight loss. Yuzhu Ruan is a 20-year-old Chinese student in Canada and her Instagram post also attracted some negative comments. Read More