Today in things that I wish didn't exist, we have something called “The Collarbone Challenge.” It purports to tell you whether or not you're hot — and like all of the other “challenges” we've seen on the interwebs lately, it's both absurd and damaging. Why do we keep doing this to ourselves? And when are we going to stop?
According to Chinese news sites cited by ABC News, the so-called Collarbone Challenge has been making its way around Weibo, China's version of Twitter; it's also spread to Instagram. The rules of the challenge itself are pretty simple: Can you balance a line of quarters upright in the hollow of your collarbone? If you can, you “pass” (and I'm putting “pass” in quotation marks, because the idea that sticking quarters on your clavicle means you win at something is ridiculous); if you can't, you “fail” (with “fail” being in quotation marks for the same reason, with a twist: It's ridiculous to say that not sticking quarters on your clavicle marks you as a failure). If you “pass,” that means that you are — according to Sina News, again by way of ABC News — “skinny and sexy.” I really wish I were making this up, but I am not. Sometimes, the Internet makes me really, really sad.
It looks like this:
And that is the only image I am going to post of it in action.
I feel kind of like I'm beating the proverbial dead horse here (note: I do not condone actual animal beating), but these kinds of “challenges” only serve to promote negative body image — and that's a dangerous thing indeed. As the Daily Dot noted, eating disorders are on the rise in China; one hospital in Shanghai reported that they've seen the rate of patients coming in for treatment for anorexia nervosa and bulimia quadruple over the past 10 years — something which “challenges” like this collarbone thing definitely isn't going to help. Furthermore, as National Eating Disorders Association Program Director Claire Mysko said to ABC News, “This social media challenge… stokes comparison and fuels insecurity, especially for people who struggle with disordered eating and poor body image.” None of that is good. Literally nothing. There is no good to be found in it.
Let's just get this straight once and for all: Being a specific size or shape does not equate with attractive. It doesn't even equate with being healthy. What a healthy body is depends on huge variety of factors — and, more importantly, what's healthy for one body isn't necessarily healthy for another. And as for what's attractive? That, too, is not determined by size, shape, or the ability to balance a row of quarters on a random part of your anatomy. So let's just… stop participating in them. It won't make body acceptance and positivity the norm overnight, but it'll go a long way towards helping us get there. All bodies are awesome, because they let us do so many amazing things. End of story.
How attractive you are isn't determined by any of these other things, either. Just in case we all need a reminder:
1. The Bellybutton Challenge
Newsflash: Being able to wrap your arm around yourself is not an indication of how skinny you are. It might be indication that you're extremely flexible and/or should consider a career as an acrobat or a contortionist — but it's not going to measure your size. Furthermore, since we've already established that size and beauty aren't the same thing, it's doubly useless as a sign of attractiveness.
2. Whether Or Not You Have A Thigh Gap
To be honest, I'm not convinced that thigh gaps exist in anything other than badly Photoshopped images of people; I don't think I've ever seen one in the wild, and you know what? It doesn't matter anyway. Because who cares whether your thighs touch or not?
3. Whether Or Not You Have A Bikini Bridge
I usually love alliteration, but “bikini bridge” is one of my least favorite phrases in the history of the English language.
4. The Kylie Jenner Challenge
Full lips are great. Not full lips are great. Lips are just kind of great in general, and I don't think we need any sort of challenge to prove it.
5. What Charlie Charlie Thinks
I will respect Charlie Charlie's stance on pooping at work, but he/she/it does not get to tell anyone how hot they are. Sorry, demon-bro.
6. Conventional Standards Of Beauty
You know how the dictionary always lists multiple different meanings for the same word? Think of beauty as having an infinite number of meanings.
7. The Internet
Trolls, online daters, randos who have never met you and probably never will… whatever. The Internet doesn't decide who you are for you.
Really, it all comes down to this:
8. Anyone or Anything Other Than Yourself
In the words of Amy Schumer: “I say if I'm beautiful. I say if I'm strong. You will not determine my story — I will.” Ayyyyyy-men.