Social media can be a powerful tool for tackling body image issues, offering a more inclusive and personal platform than fashion magazines or reality TV.
But the reality, as we well know, is that the likes of Instagram are often used to spread harmful photos and ideas about body image that fetishize certain attributes — thigh gaps, tiny waists — and discourage any deviation from the Photoshop-perfect ideal.
This pressure is especially acute in China, where there is only one ideal to aspire to: skinniness. There’s no Kardashian curves or Beyoncé booty here on social media. The drive is for all things petite, to the extent that any method of affirming thinness has appeal — even if it’s wildly inaccurate and proves nothing whatsoever.
Enter China’s latest “trend,” which has seen girls all over the country uploading pictures of themselves applying lipstick with their arm twisted behind their heads to prove they have small faces. No matter that achieving this feat probably has more to do with your flexibility (much like the “belly button challenge,” which saw girls wrapping their arms around their backs to prove the size of their minuscule waists) — it’s taken the Chinese internet by storm. Read More