This banknote challenge can be seriously damaging for our body image
We’ve seen some pretty bizarre body trends come from China’s social media platforms recently. In 2014 there was the “Finger Trap” challenge to prove you had a “perfect” face. Recently there was the iPhone 6 knee challenge to prove you have skinny legs. And let’s not forget the A4 paper craze, a trend that went viral last month, encouraging women to flaunt how skinny their waists were by holding up a sheet of paper in front of their midsection. They’ve been strongly criticized (rightfully so), but there’s yet another trend on the horizon that is just as controversial.
Meet the “100 yuan wrist” meme. It’s a new challenge that has become popular on Chinese social media sites like Weibo and Meipai, instructing women to use a 100 yuan banknote (the equivalent to $15 USD) to wrap around her wrist. This banknote is 155mm by 77 mm. Presumably, if the edges of it touch, you’re “skinny enough.”
Women are posting pictures and videos of themselves left and right, excited about their slim wrists. One woman even posted a montage of several different sized banknotes around her wrist, until she donned the smallest size as the finale.
The trend has really taken off among Chinese netizens. As you can see below, women are rising to the challenge and using the smallest banknotes they can find to display their thinness.
This is problematic for a number of reasons. It encourages an unhealthy body image, perpetuating the value that to be skinny is to be beautiful. It’s body shaming at its most potent. Plus, it’s troubling to think about what these women are doing in order to get these drastic results.
Luckily, there are some people who are speaking out against the popularity of this online.
We can only hope starting a conversation about trends like these will help combat the damaging message they’re sending. Because while many men and women feel that this “test” is ridiculous, there ARE people out there taking this trend very seriously and basing their worth and their beauty on a piece of paper.