Mariana Navarrete, Reporter
It’s 2016 and with no surprise, a new challenge on the internet has arrived, and it is no joke.
From a challenge that arose in China, it has followed itself all the way to where we come to live, Santa Ana. This new challenge gets girls to compare their bodies to a vertical piece of paper, not to mention the paper is 8 inches wide. It is called the “A4” challenge.
It works by a person putting a paper against their waist, snapping a picture, and finally getting uploaded onto the internet with the hashtag A4Waist.
“Doing the math, that would mean these women have roughly a 25 inch waist, if not smaller, much tinier than the 35-inch average American waist,” stated the Tech Insider, a website that covered this topic.
This all began on social networks such as Weibo and WeChat, it started with an actress, Zhang Li, posting these photos, before going global on Twitter and Instagram. Chinese state newspaper, People's Daily, described it as a "fitness challenge", because apparently if your body isn’t within the paper’s dimensions, “you could be at risk of developing health issues like obesity, high blood, heart disease and diabetes”. This is not something you'll find in the CDC guidelines for assessing weight or any of the policies supported by the Obesity Society. All that this challenge is promoting, is body shame and dangerous eating disorder, which is a disease that can potentially kill you.
“This challenge affects the society because they are always criticizing everyone by the way they look, they never stop and think in the real truth the society has problems with,” said Daisy Lopez, a student at Samueli Academy.
Although this challenge is not so good with promoting self-esteem, others think differently about this waist challenge.
"I'm not sure what the average waist size is in China, but I would guess it's under 30" easily, so this A4 challenge is comparative to the already smaller waistlines, which doesn't make it 100% right, but it's nothing different than American social media posting skinny waists and big butts and every girl trying to do a down shot on their boobs. I think everyone needs to just try to be a little bit healthier and exercise more, and then embrace the different sizes and shapes from there,” said a blogger on Hello Gigglers, a blog assessing this topic.
The American society has been so thin obsessed these couple of years, coming up with ways to measure how “skinny” you are. The A4 waist challenge is not the first online beauty challenge, highlighting thinness that appeared from China. Previous challenges have included showing off the collarbones by balancing rows of coins on them and the "belly button challenge,” which was posting pictures of themselves while trying to reach an arm behind their back and around to touch their belly button.
“This challenge is dumb, health can’t be measured with a certain measurement. Health is measured by the way you eat, and exercise” said Juan Navarrete, a person who was informed over this challenge.
For girls who are participating in this challenge, their self-esteem is rock bottom, so there will never be no such thing as pretty enough or skinny enough. So instead of spending time focussing on looks, obsessing on magazine models, surfing the Internet for “thinpiration”, psychologists have all proven that confidence comes from knowing yourself, and nurturing one's talents, not from one's appearance.
“The A4 challenge is paper thin, and will leave young girls feeling despondent, depressed and disgruntled this week as super skinny photos whizz are around the web,” said a blog post, focusing on teens and their self-esteem. Everyone is better than a piece of paper, they are beautiful either way. “Inner beauty shines brighter than any hair, skin, or teeth.”
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