Thigh gaps, Barbie feet and flat tummies: online body trends

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Trigger Warning: This article will be triggering for some readers. We’ve removed few images and we share this article for information purpose only.

 

Dubai: In the constantly evolving world of social media and trends, fads involving women’s bodies are always circulating.

 Fads surrounding women’s bodies are being popularised through social media

Women are taking extreme measures to conform to weird body goals

Experts say crash diets and unrealistic goals can be harmful

 

Dear Readers,

 

Please find below an article from Gulf News by Falah Gulzar, ‘Thigh gaps, Barbie feet and flat tummies: online body trends’. Please keep in mind we share this article for information purpose only.

 

 

 

Thigh gaps, Barbie feet and flat tummies: online body trends

 

Falah Gulzar, Trainee Social Media Journalist

 

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Picture for illustrative purposes only.Image Credit: GN archives

 

Instagram models seem to set weird body standards

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Fads surrounding women’s bodies are being popularised through social media
  • Women are taking extreme measures to conform to weird body goals
  • Experts say crash diets and unrealistic goals can be harmful

Dubai: In the constantly evolving world of social media and trends, fads involving women’s bodies are always circulating.

Having a thigh gap, Barbie feet, protruding rib cages, and most recently popularised, the ‘Toblerone tunnel’ is sought after.

What does the Swiss chocolate brand have to do with taking a picture, you ask? Well, the challenge requires women to fit the triangle-shaped chocolate bar between their upper thighs and if they are able to do so, they supposedly have a “Toblerone tunnel”.

The triangle-shaped gap is what is apparently used to increase the number of likes on social media, mainly Instagram. Social media influencers and ‘Instagram models’ greatly feed into the hype.

However, the majority of social media users are not fond of such bizarre crazes and think that they promote an unhealthy body image.

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 Picture for illustrative purposes only.Image Credit: GN archives

Twitter user, Charlotte Ord, @charlotteord, posted: “The thigh gap craze makes me want to weep. So damaging. Anyone with any sort of muscle is going to struggle to achieve this.”

Tweep, @AniMiaOfficial, wrote: “As if people don’t have enough problems with body confidence, now there’s the ‘Toblerone tunnel’, this year’s thigh gap. Anyone promoting this is part of the problem.”

On the same sentiment, Twitter user, @BermondseyBoy68, posted: “Why do women put themselves under all this pressure for the perfect body? We have the ‘thigh gap’ now apparently there’s the Toblerone tunnel whatever that is? Don’t ruin Toblerone for me, that’s one of my favourite chocolate bars.”

Twitter user, @DontTouchMyWine, refused to participate in the fad: “A ‘Toblerone Tunnel’? Really? Do I have one? Yes I do. Will you find any Toblerone in there? No. No you will not.”

Whereas, tweep, Tabatha Smithson, @tabathalouise, wrote a quirky post: “Yeah I’ve got a Toblerone tunnel…. Otherwise known as my throat #TobleroneTunnel”

Comedian, Gregory Behrendt, @gregorybehrendt, also commented on the trend: “If that’s where you are putting the @Toblerone then clearly you don’t understand how candy works, because if you did you’d know the only place for it is in your mouth… also you’d have no room to put it anywhere else. #TobleroneTunnel”

Expert comment

Although these fads are influencing young girls and women’s body goals, and shaping the ideals of the beauty world, is it healthy to follow such standards?

Saumya Mishra, Dubai based nutritionist said, “Anything that takes you to an extreme is unhealthy. And one can only achieve these goals when they go in an extreme.”

Mishra also highlighted that everyone’s body is different. “We are all unique and we have unique body types.”

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– Saumya Mishra, Dubai based nutritionist

Anything that takes you to an extreme is unhealthy. And one can only achieve these goals when they go in an extreme.

Genetically, people are mainly categorised into three body types: ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs.

Ectomorphs tend to have a leaner build with small joints and lean muscle. Typically they also have long thin limbs with stringy muscles. Ectomorphs find it difficult to gain weight or have curvier bodies.

Whereas, a mesomorph has large bone structure, larger muscles and a naturally athletic body. They find it quite easy to gain and lose weight.

Endomorphs on the other hand, gain weight quite easily and have larger frames with thick arms and legs.

Mishra said that having certain body goals such as the ones prevalent online isn’t impossible for all body types, however, some would have to work harder than others.

Physical features can be changed but with a consistent diet, training under a professional and it can take a long period of time to see results, she explained.

However, in the fast paced world of social media, people want quick results. “In past 10 years, there has been a boom in social media usage. Everyone is in a constant need to lose weight. Social media has definitely changed the definition of beauty,” Mishra said.

Although, prominent social media personalities are setting beauty standards, not everything seen on such platforms is real and numerous steps are taken behind the scenes for models to look a certain way. “Everyone has a smart phone these days. Pictures can be morphed and edited so easily,” she said.

Crash diets and extreme eating habits are no strangers to some social media stars. “A day before a shoot, these models adopt liquid diets and juice cleanses.” Artificial cleansers that are used to cleanse the stomach and gut are used as well. “These can have long-term side effects and are very unhealthy,” Mishra warned.

“This can also lead people to get discouraged and doesn’t promote the concept of self-love,” she added.

 

The pressure to look a certain way also takes a toll on one’s mental health. “Stress, anxiety and even eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are common amongst such individuals,” according to Mishra.

Counter movement

Although unhealthy goals surrounding women’s bodies have long existed, there seems to be a shift in some people’s preferences and the body positivity movement seems to be thriving alongside such fads.

 

Social media users are denouncing such extreme trends and promoting the culture of accepting one’s body.

Tweep, @opi_oak, posted: “I’m done telling myself I’m too big to pull off certain styles. It’s all about self-love and body positivity my dudes.”

Twitter user, @lephilll, shared her struggles going to the gym: “Why I’ve stopped going to the gym… because my only real goal was to get a flatter tummy really. My body shape isn’t like that, I like the person I am, and I’m learning to like the body I have. It’s all about self-acceptance and learning to love yourself.”

Whereas, tweep, @mnquecrtny admitted that it might be difficult to be positive sometimes: “Losing weight is hard but what’s even harder is learning to love my body through the whole process and learning that there’s no ‘finish line’ in self-love and acceptance. Waiting for the day when I flip a switch and suddenly love my body is exhausting.”

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Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.

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