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Online body shaming trends paint unrealistic image of ‘perfect’ body

Body shaming images are becoming popular across China, with strange measurements of the "perfect" body.

Recent body shaming trends have been cropping up across China, the latest revolving around an iPhone 6.

It works like this: Girls hold an iPhone 6 at their knees to show how thin they are.

It’s the latest in a line of bizarre measures of beauty.

An earlier one was the “A4 waist” where girls held a sheet of paper (the A4 size, obviously) at their waists to see if they were as thin as it was wide. Another was one where girls judged how thin they were based on whether or not they could wrap their hands around their bodies and touch their belly button, while yet another was holding a lid of a pen in your dimple.

Is being able to put coins on your collar bone a good indication of how perfect your body is?
Is being able to put coins on your collar bone a good indication of how perfect your body is? Weibo

The message is clear: these are the measures of perfection.

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Though the trends are popular in China, social media knows no boundaries: these images are readily available online to girls here at home as well.

It’s disturbing when you think that eating disorders are most likely to affect adolescent girls. More disturbing still that out of those suffering from anorexia, the suicide rate is about 20 to 30 per cent.

Various ways that social media has portrayed the measure of a perfect body.
Various ways that social media has portrayed the measure of a perfect body. Weibo

Adolescent girls, a key audience on social media, are highly susceptible to unrealistic ideas of what a perfect body is and trends like this can adversely affect them.

The interesting part is that studies show that fat shaming or body shaming doesn’t do much to encourage those who may be overweight to shed the pounds.

“There is no justification for discriminating against people because of their weight,” said Sarah Jackson, the lead author of a 2014 study out of the University College London. “Our results show that weight discrimination does not encourage weight loss, and suggest that it may even exacerbate weight gain.”

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