This New Beauty Challenge Is Seriously Depressing

18 March 2016, 15:16 | Updated: 8 May 2017, 17:09

Waist challenge asset
Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

Yikes. No thank you to this.

We've seen many an online trends come and go. They're often cosmetic, usually stupid, and tend to involve people altering or presenting their appearance in a new, sometimes disturbing light. The newest craze hitting Asia is all of that, and more. 

You've probably never heard the term "A4 waist". Most people hadn't until the seriously warped terminology started trending in China. The challenge basically entails holding a sheet of A4 paper to your midsection and seeing whether or not your body disappears behind the sheet. If it does, congratulations, you've got an A4 waist.

Yes, you read that right. The newest standard of beauty is whether or not you can make your body disappear behind a piece of paper. 


A photo posted by Rocksy (@rocksy.chan) onMar 18, 2016 at 2:10am PDT


A photo posted by Ruan (@ryz.jr) onMar 15, 2016 at 5:09pm PDT

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The only good thing to come from the A4 challenge is the many women speaking up about how awful this particular online trend is.

It may seem like a harmless online trend, but its implications are far more treacherous that you may think. We live in a world where 94% of teenagers say they have been body shamed. There are entire blogs and internet forums dedicated to thigh gaps and borderline starvation. 

On the surface, it's a fun little opportunity to take a tummy selfie but a little critical thought will clue you into how problematic this particular standard of beauty is. 

There is nothing wrong with sharing flattering photos of your body. But when girls who are already at risk of developing unhealthy attitudes about their bodies see that there is a litmus test for how they "should look", then the hope of teaching the concept of "self love" become dimmer and dimmer. 

This, coupled with the human disaster that is Nicole Arbour and her public shaming of larger bodies, and you've got tons of people on social media sending out the wrong idea about body image. 

Girls, please share your post-pizza stomach selfies, your hairy selfies, your thunder thigh selfies, your best friend selfies, and any other selfie that makes you feel cute AF. Forget A4. Seriously.