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August 2, 2016

10 (Worst) Social Media Challenges Women Could do Without.

João Silas/Unsplash

Remember a time before social media?

Or when the only things we saw on Facebook, Instagram, Hi5, MySpace and other social media were pictures of food?

Oh, those were good times. Why?

Because these days, social media is fixated on, especially women’s, physical perfection. Check out just of few of the popular body challenges:

  1. Clean Panty Challenge: Checking underwear for cleanliness after wearing it all day.
  2. A4 Waist Challenge: Comparing the waist to the width of an A4 page.
  3. Collarbone Challenge: Fitting as many coins as possible into the collar bone.
  4. Belly Button Challenge: Wrapping the arms around the waist in an attempt to reach the belly button.
  5. Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge: Sucking the air out of a shot glass to look like Kylie Jenner.
  6. Coke Bottle challenge: Holding a coke bottle between the breasts.
  7. Bikini Bridge Challenge: Thrusting out the hips to create a “bridge” with the fabric of the bikini bottom.
  8. Under Boob Challenge: Holding a pen under the breasts.
  9. Thighbrows Challenge: Creating an eyebrow-shaped fold between the upper leg and torso when the leg is bent forward.
  10. Thigh Gap Challenge: Demonstrating that the thighs do not rub against each other (also known as the box gap).

These are only some of the social media “challenges” that women are faced with all over the world.

Quite simply put, we have begun to believe that if we do not succeed in these challenges, there is something wrong with us and our physique. Who comes up with this stuff? And why do we buy into it?

For a while, the thigh gap challenge wreaked havoc all over social media. Many women wanted the “gap” and many more became increasingly self-conscious about their “large” thighs.

Girls as young as 13 starved themselves because they didn’t fit into the mold of society’s expectations. Then it got worse. Along came the A4 waist challenge: Let’s see whose waists are as small as the width of a piece of A4 paper. More young girls starving.

Today we have “the clean panty challenge”: Who has the cleanest panties after wearing them all day?

So now young women are not only starving themselves, but they’re also completely scared or shocked when they go to the toilet and see discharge (which, by the way, is perfectly normal.)

For some reason, we believe that being ourselves and being healthy is not enough. I see this day in and day out with my personal training and coaching clients, 98 percent of whom are women.

Every single one of them is ashamed of their bodies in some way or form.

I have had clients as young as 20 years old who skinny shame themselves. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I have had new mothers who hate their bodies after giving birth only three weeks prior. I have known women who have been abused or raped, and who hate their bodies because of their experience.

Women reading this might be constantly looking in the mirror thinking that they are ugly or fat or too short or too tall or don’t have the right hair or the right tan.

If this is happening right now, please, for the love of humanity…

Stop. Just stop.

How sad is it that we are not able to love the one person who is always going to be true to us?

Perfection is not about adhering to society and its expectations.

Perfection is not about body challenges.

Perfection is us. Being true to us.

The real us.

The miracle that is us.

Imagine how the world would be without us. Realize that we wouldn’t be experiencing this life right now without being who we are or what we look like.

So how can we step away from these challenges and start focusing on our true beauty?

For starters, think about creation. Out of all the possibilities that could have been, we are who we are. For some reason, at that very moment of conception, everything aligned in the most perfect way to create us.

One egg. One sperm out of millions. And we are the result. That is perfection. And if we have been created out of perfection, then there is no need to strive for perfection. We are living it.

We may have let our health go, but that doesn’t mean we are imperfect. We can improve our health. We may have had a rough few years, but again, that doesn’t mean we are imperfect. We can change our future.

We may have been in a bad relationship or had a traumatic childhood. That still does not mean we are imperfect. We can find an awesome relationship or learn from our traumas.

But we only have this one body—and we need to love and nurture it. Maybe it is time to step away from media control and take a look at ourselves from a different perspective.

This is for anyone and everyone who has doubted themselves during the course of this life:

Those who have been bullied.

Those who have been used or abused.

Those who have been teased.

Those who have been disrespected.

Those who have been stood up.

Those who have never fit in.

Those who have stopped believing that they are enough.

This is for everyone who needs a reminder that they are enough. We are all imperfectly perfect.

We are all amazing.

We do not need ridiculous social media challenges to tell us otherwise.

 

~

Author: Matt Thambirajah

Image: The Home of Fixers / Flickr & João Silas/Unsplash

Apprentice Editor: Melinda Matthews; Editor: Sara Kärpänen

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Matt Thambirajah