We can barely get through a month before another bizarre Instagram trend catches on, but this one is by far the most worrying of them all…
The ‘thigh gap’ was one of the first of these unnerving body trends to emerge on the social media platform, followed by the strange sounding ‘bikini bridge’ and then the ‘thigh brow.’
So it seems the fascination for women’s bodies and competition for who can have the slimmest, most toned body is not subsiding yet and this particular trend, as reported by the Independent, strikes some serious cords of concern.
The ‘protruding ribcage,’ is the latest in a long line of peculiar trends – probably seen splashed across your Instagram feed – and the undertones behind this craze should not be ignored.
Scores of celebrities, models, actresses and popstars have been seen posing online in bikinis – not only showing off their dreamy, sunny island holidays – but also their ribs on the beach.
Rita Ora and Bella Hadid are just a couple of the twenty-somethings to showcase this trend to their thousands of followers and fans – seemingly ticking off every social media craze going in the process.
The rise of Kate Moss amongst other models in the 90s brought with them ‘heroin chic’ and gave way to the rising trend of the ‘new skinny,’ which saw girls striving to gain these almost unattainably thin body shapes.
Now the new ‘rib cage’ trend has emerged and appears to be encouraging women of all ages, shapes and sizes to aspire to be so waif thin, their bones physically stick out of their chests.
So far, the trend seems to involve lying down – mainly somewhere tropical – in a bikini, in a bid to give the impression of as flat a stomach as possible, so the ribs can be seen.
Worryingly though, for some people, the craze doesn’t stop there and being seen with your ribs poking out while standing, is also something to aspire to.
Aside from the visible health concerns for the women perpetuating this potentially dangerous image, it is the influence they have over millions of their followers around the world, which could be even more harmful.
Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajowski each have around 12 million followers on their Instagram accounts, which means their reach and influence is huge and the image they’re purporting could be extremely damaging to people’s health.
To put it into perspective, Bella received 718,000 likes on the media platform for her rib-baring bikini snap, which could be seen to be supporting the notion women should show as many bones poking out of their flesh as possible in order to gain online popularity, which isn’t necessarily healthy…
It’s not just a craze affecting women in their twenties though, it’s one that’s sweeping celebrities in their late 30s and 40s, such as Kate Beckinsale, Kourtney Kardashian, Kate Hudson and Nicole Scherzinger.
To add to this growing concern for women’s health and body satisfaction, a report last week from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, revealed the UK came 38th out of 49 countries for having the highest proportion of teenage girls who are unsatisfied with themselves.
Bolt this on to the fact British teenagers are the second biggest internet-user group, which means they are at huge risk of being exposed to and influenced by unhealthy images of celebrities and women available all over the online domain.
And at a time where the NHS estimates over 725,000 people suffer with a type of eating disorder in the UK, encouraging women to share snaps of themselves with ribs jutting out – whether consciously or not – does not seem to be a very sensible decision to take. Especially from those who are in positions of social power and influence.
Of course, this is not a platform to start bodyshaming women and those who are naturally thin, it is more raising the alarm over women – and men for the matter – feeling this is a body shape they have to achieve in order to look good and gain popularity.
Instead of skipping meals and starving yourself until your body reaches a point of submission, it would be much healthier to diet gently and progressively, using exercise to stay healthy and to obtain a body shape which is realistic to achieve.
This particular trend is deeply concerning, but it seems the further we head into 2017, the more extreme the craze gets. It would be nice for the madness to end here though, as I can only imagine what hideous ideal for people to torture themselves over will come next…