I remember the Kylie Jenner lip challenge.
Then there was the collar bone challenge, where people tried to balance rolls of quarters on their protruding clavicles to prove their thinness.
After that was the obsession with thigh gaps, and now we have the paper waist challenge – people holding up standard-sized sheets of paper in front of themselves to see if their waists are thinner than the width of the paper.
These Internet sensations are huge, and if you haven’t heard of some of them, I’m sure you will soon enough.
As someone who’s struggled with body image for a majority of my post-fifth grade life, it’s always a little overwhelming for me to happen upon another one of these trends. I never wondered if I needed a thigh gap, and I never thought about whether or not my lips were too small or if my collarbone wasn’t obvious enough.
But I definitely did after I saw the hundreds of pictures, tweets and posts that clogged social media.
I had the chance to see the duo Speak Like a Girl perform on campus before break. It’s a spoken word poetry performance that doubles as activism and an educational experience, and I found it incredibly insightful and relatable.
The poets – Megan Falley and Olivia Gatwood – spent a great deal of time talking about body image, and they even touched on these growing internet trends. Their performance really got me thinking, and I’ll be honest – I spent the majority of spring break contemplating their message in relation to these explosive Internet posts.
The way I see it, these Internet fads are harmful in two major ways.
First, they tell people who try them out – and quite a few of these participants are girls – that their bodies aren’t “good enough.”
Second, these people are judged harshly, made fun of and told they are stupid for trying them out.
This kind of thing negatively affects boys, too. They’re told they’re silly if they want to meet society’s beauty standards for them, and yet, when boys don’t meet them, they’re shunned.
Isn’t this a paradox? We’re pressuring people to constantly “be better.” And when they try to “be better” (or what society deems as “better”), they’re scorned and mocked.
I’m never going to be “good enough” for society, and neither will you. I never had an Anne Hathaway transformation akin to Mia Thermopolis in “The Princess Diaries.” You probably didn’t either.
Unfortunately, I perceive myself the way others allow me to. And just like everyone else, I’ve let myself believe I’m “less” because I don’t meet these silly standards.
I’m sick of this. I know there’s no magical cure to help me wake up tomorrow and believe in myself or feel better about the way I look and am perceived. But I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Society has created a fictional prescription for what a person should look like, how they should act and what they should think.
Society’s silly mold is harmful, and it doesn’t allow for each of us to grow or to be individuals.
Those Internet challenges and fads were created one by one. Pictures and tweets were posted one by one, and now the world is full of them.
But if there are more people out there who struggle with accepting and loving themselves like I sometimes do, there’s a chance we can change this. One by one we can realize that we already are good enough, and one by one we can destroy the notion of being “good enough” altogether.