If you follow supermodels Bella Hadid or Jourdan Dunn on Instagram, you’ve probably seen the new body trend: the “ab crack.” If you’re not familiar, it’s the crease that runs down the centre of flat stomachs, and it can vary in depth and definition.
The “trend” recently surfaced on social media (see the Insta snaps below) and quickly surpassed the “thigh gap” as being the most controversial way to measure and rate body size. Other examples that have arisen in recent years, include the A4 waist challenge, the belly button challenge, the thigh brow and the collarbone challenge.
This is not to say having strong, toned abs is a crime; it’s not. The issue arises when women strive for a body image that’s impossible to achieve.
“Not everyone is destined to have a washboard stomach or an ‘ab crack,’ no matter how hard they work out, or how little they eat,” says Health‘s medical editor Roshini Rajapaksa.
“Usually the people who achieve them are fitness professionals or models who are paid to look unnaturally good — who are also probably genetically blessed,” she says.
An Elite Daily writer ranted, “Look, I get abs. I get toned booties. I even get clavicle contouring, weirdly enough. What I don’t get is that we’re now supposed to be coveting a thing that literally does not appear naturally on anyone with more fat on their bodies than Emily Ratajkowski (so everyone, really).”
There’s also an innate danger in these trends and challenges.
Teens and young women who spend more time taking selfies and obsessing over what they look like are already at an increased risk of depression and disorders like anorexia and body dysmorphia.
“The problem with social media is that it presents a very skewed version of real life – photos can be added with filters, experiences can be embellished, and life can be presented through a rose tinted lens,” Dr. Bryony Bamford, of The London Centre, says. “What that means for individuals who have a tendency to compare themselves to others, is that they are likely to be comparing themselves to a skewed reality of real life.”
Dr. Leslie Sanders, of the Eating Disorders Program of Goryeb Children’s Center at Overlook Medical Center in New Jersey, suggests people, “Challenge the idea that losing weight or being thin will lead to happiness or fulfillment.” That includes following weird body trends.
Naturally, folks on Twitter have had a lot to say about the new trend.