A bizarre challenge is taking Chinese social media by storm, and now, it’s starting to gain attention in other parts of the world.
The belly button challenge first started on Chinese social media, and this week, it quickly rose to be the top trending topic on China’s version of Twitter, Weibo. The challenge requires a person to snap a selfie as they attempt to touch their belly button by reaching behind their back. If one is able to successfully touch their belly button, the person supposedly has a good figure.
Many Chinese teens started accepting the challenge and posting their selfies on social media, and quickly, others started to join in. Chinese celebrities like Yang Mi, Zhang Jiani, and Huo Siyan have also taken the challenge.
While it may seem that only overweight people would have trouble successfully completing the challenge, participants explain that one’s weight doesn’t necessarily determine whether or not they’d be able to reach their belly button.
“I can't do it either. There are three factors for achieving it,” fitness instructor Xie Wei said to People’s Daily Online, according to Daily Mail. “The first is the person is thin, the second is having long arms, and the third is having good flexibility. Apart from doing stretching exercises regularly those who can successfully do this challenge are people who are very slim with very small waists.”
Experts reportedly say that there is no real correlation between being able to successfully complete the challenge and having a healthy figure, and some worry that the challenge could be a catalyst for eating disorders.
“Social media challenges like these can stoke comparison and body insecurity, especially for those struggling with disordered eating," National Eating Disorder Association Program Director Claire Mysko said to ABC News. "We advocate for body positivity challenges, which are empowering and encourage self-expression, not self-criticism.”