This new “paper challenge” is super dangerous for young women’s body image

A new trend called the “paper challenge” exists in the Internet world, and it’s making us very concerned.

Shanghaiist explains that the paper challenge (which started on Weibo, China’s version of Facebook) instructs women to hold a piece of A4 printer paper in front of their waists. If the paper solely covers their mid-sections, then they have successfully finished the challenge. Considering that the paper is 8.27 inches wide, this is a bit concerning as it’s promoting body standards that are not realistic for everyone.

In fact, Mic points out that “the average U.S. woman’s waist size was 37.8 inches,” whereas the “The short side of an A4 sheet of paper measures 8.3 inches — less than a quarter of the average American woman’s waist.” Essentially, the “challenge” is simply unattainable for most women.

In many of the photos that have surfaced, the women recruit others to hold the camera for them, so they can grasp the paper with both hands while attempting to literally measure up. Others simply tuck the paper in their jeans to get the point across. 

Though it began on Weibo (with over 40,ooo users commenting and engaging with the topic, according to Shanghaiist), the challenge has spread across the Internet, include platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. Those who get involved are using the hashtag #A4waist to spread the word.

Many are not a fan, stating that the trend is problematic and damaging —which is completely correct.

While we find many Internet challenges to be fun and engaging, this is one that has been taken too far. Because all bodies are great bodies, and a piece of paper shouldn’t dictate otherwise.

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