The Internet is a fascinating place. Most recently, it gave birth to a crazy trend called the "belly button challenge," posts about which have flooded social media sites.
It all began in Weibo, a Chinese social network. The belly button challenge started picking up steam on Wednesday. It involves reaching your hand behind your back to touch your belly button. Of course, no social media challenge is complete without a picture, so anyone taking on the belly button challenge must provide a picture of the act as proof.
Since it started, the belly button challenge has received over 130 million mentions over on Weibo alone. The challenge became viral when boyband Exo's Sehun posted his very own take on the belly button challenge. When Sehun reached behind his back to touch his belly button, he got more than 235,000 likes on his post.
While the belly button challenge may have been created as an innocent activity, experts are arguing that the trend promotes eating disorders and distorts society's beauty standards.
According to Jolene Tan, senior manager for programmes and communications over at Aware, a Singaporean non-governmental association for women's rights, pictures and quirky poses can be a lot of fun, but they can also be used as an expression of insecurity or competitiveness.
"We need to do more to promote acceptance of diversity in women's bodies," she stated, adding how the trend is another way that women's bodies are scrutinized to determine if they are "good enough."
Most of the posts of those who were able to do the belly button challenge are of thin women. Experts clarified that successfully touching one's belly button from behind doesn't necessarily mean that an individual has a fit body. According to the challenge post, however, completing it means having a good body. Otherwise, weight needs to be lost. It also says the conclusion is from a scientific study in the United States, but the research referred to was not identified.
Xie Wei, a fitness instructor from China, pointed out that successfully completing the belly button challenge entails a combination of factors: thin waists, long arms and great flexibility. A post from Weibo user Sough Sa proved that the belly button challenge is not just for the svelte.
"Is this trend really that difficult? I don't think so," he said.
— hitz fm (@hitzdotfm) June 13, 2015
and here we have oh sehun in his hipster self, trying out the #BellyButtonChallenge pic.twitter.com/cG7cow3gZt — ☾s-hiatus bc school☽ (@sehductions) June 12, 2015
— Lyca Dilse (@LycaDilse1035) June 13, 2015
The new challage spreading out like fire #bellybuttonchallenge pic.twitter.com/efVOPj7Ebq — رنا (@ranwah1) June 12, 2015
I'm a noodle like sehun #bellybuttonchallenge pic.twitter.com/je8Sgtw3Nb — Princess Liz~ (@lizzupng) June 12, 2015
He nailed it! #bellybuttonChallenge pic.twitter.com/bErurRDKWd — astronk! (@omg_astro) June 11, 2015