Can we all stop pretending fat-shaming challenges actually exist
Last week, the “collarbone challenge” emerged on social media, provoking several pissed off news stories about the latest in a wave of body-shaming social media trends. I say it emerged, but I didn’t actually hear of it until the national press started whining about it. I can only assume my living-on-the-internet-24/7-with-an-iPhone-surgically-implanted-into-my-palm lifestyle meant I was out of the loop.
Supposedly the challenge, which involves balancing as many coins on your collarbone as possible, is big in China. Over there, teens are doing it and uploading the pictures to Weibo. Bored, skinny, sexually frustrated teens. The idea of the challenge is that the more coins you can fit in your clavicles, the better (read: skinnier) you are.
If you’re reading that description and thinking “Huh, that sounds stupid. At least I’ve not seen anyone on my Facebook/Instagram taking pictures like that” then congratulations, you’re one step closer to realising this isn’t a “craze” sweeping the globe. Instead, it’s just another trend that a week from now will be resigned to a bleak legacy as an archived MailOnline article, a handful of outraged tweets and a series of “thin shaming” retaliation pictures. In this sense, it’s exactly like the thigh gap pictures of 2014 (which caused a tirade of “if Beyonce doesn’t have one I don’t need one” memes in backlash) and the “bikini bridge” selfie which also suffered a tragic demise.
(NB: That thin shaming backlash I mentioned has actually already started happening by the way. People are posting retaliatory selfies of them balancing chocolate bars on their shoulders. I’ve never wanted to eat a Twix less than after seeing the bar mis-used and rested on multiple sweaty lower necks.)
Going back to the “challenge”, try lifting your shoulders up into a sort of “shrug” position. Doing it? Now feel your collarbone. Personally, I could fit all three components of a Tesco meal deal in there, organic line and pole caught tuna baguette and all. This isn’t a challenge. This isn’t hard. This isn’t even fat shaming. The only thing this challenge has made me realize is that my collar bones are now a viable phone and ID holder on my next night out if I’m not wearing a bra to store my shit in.
Literally no one gives a fuck about collarbones. They’re not a thing, and neither is this “challenge”. Remember the “coke can challenge”? The “reach around your waist and touch your belly button” challenge? No, me neither. I only found out about them when I Googled “fat shaming challenges”, and chances are that’s the only way anyone finds out about them. Which makes you wonder: does anyone regularly Google that? Who regularly Googles anything apart from “funny fail vine video compilations” and “iPhone doing weird screen thing how to fix”? No one.
Essentially, this “challenge” doesn’t exist. It was never more than a few ironic Instagram posts and the fat shaming police going HAM over some Asian kids. Trust me, teens are not doing this challenge. Teens are not doing anything other than tweeting about their lack of revision, binge-watching the new series of OITNB and sexting each other after 10pm.
Here are some facts: all teens like doughnuts, some go to the gym and some don’t. Both options are fine: it’s 2015, we know this. None of those teens are doing the “collarbone challenge”, they’ve got better stuff to do. So if you’re one of the people who tried it after reading an angry Facebook post about it, failed miserably, and then went straight to Tumblr to take your anger out at thin people, please stop. Nobody is trying to make you feel bad about your body, and by over-reacting to a few Instagram pics from the other side of the world, you’re only making things worse.