Gina Mei
June 19, 2015 7:08 am

For the last couple weeks, the #BellyButtonChallenge has become the latest “health craze” to blow up on social media. Allegedly based on a “scientific study” from the United States, the challenge purports that if you can reach around your back and touch your belly button, you’re perfectly healthy; and if you can’t, you need to lose weight until you can. Thankfully, medical experts were quick to debunk it — but now, there’s a new and equally concerning challenge riding on its coattails.

The “collarbone challenge” is the ability to put a row of coins, standing up, in the dip of your collarbone. Millions of people have participated by posting photos to social media, and some have even used other items in place of coins to take it to the extreme. Like its predecessor, the challenge originated on Weibo (the Chinese equivalent of Twitter). But unlike the #BellyButtonChallenge, the collarbone challenge doesn’t seem to have any purported “health” benefits. According to Chinese-language site Sina News, its only purpose is to prove that one is “skinny and sexy.” For the sake of full disclosure, we gave it a try in the HelloGiggles office — and while we suffered fewer injuries than with the #BellyButtonChallenge, only a couple of us could do it.

Let’s be clear: This challenge is a completely arbitrary way of determining skinniness and health. It is also in no way an accurate way of measuring sexiness (unless putting coins on your clavicle makes you feel sexy — in which case, you do you). But of course, more concerning than the mechanics of balancing things on your bones are the standards turning it into a social media challenge perpetuates. The collarbone challenge implies that skinniness is the only acceptable way to be sexy — and that is far from the case. As we’ve said before, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being skinny; but likewise, there’s nothing wrong with not being skinny, too. We should all be allowed to feel proud of and good about our bodies — and to do that, we need to be celebrating healthy bodies of all shapes and sizes.

“This social media challenge is dangerous because it stokes comparison and fuels insecurity, especially for people who struggle with disordered eating and poor body image,” Claire Mysko, program director for the National Eating Disorders Association, told ABC. “NEDA promotes social media challenges that promote body positivity and encourage self-acceptance.”

At first glance, these kinds of challenges seem fun and harmless — but for many people, they can be a source of body dysmorphia and poor self-esteem. Rather than encouraging women (and men!) to participate in something that perpetuates a singular idea of health and beauty, we should be working to expand our conceptions of health and beauty as a whole. There is no one “correct” body type, just like there is no one “sexy” body type. The best way to find out more about your health is to talk to a doctor, and to do what feels right for you and your body.

After the #BellyButtonChallenge first came out, women started the #BoobsOverBellyButton challenge in response: A body-positive “challenge” that encourages women to know what feels normal when doing breast self-exams. This is the kind of challenge we can get behind — rather than all these challenges that really just make us feel awful about ourselves (or, at the very least, very inflexible.) When it comes down to it, our bodies are amazing for everything they can do, not just how they look — whether or not we turn our clavicles into a coin purses.

Related Stories:

We have some real concerns about the #BellyButtonChallenge

How boob selfies became an awesome response to the #BellyButtonChallenge

(Image via Twitter)

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