A new online craze from China is taking the internet by storm as thousands of people continue to post selfies of themselves doing ‘the bellybutton challenge’.
Since Wednesday, the topic has received more than 130 million hits and has been the number one trending topic on China’s version of Twitter, Weibo.
The challenge sees people attempting to touch their bellybuttons by reaching around their backs as a way to prove whether they have a ‘good body’. If not, the next step is to lose weight until the challenge can be completed.
Although most have been doing the challenge for ‘fun’, an expert warned of bizarre trend’s 'dark side' yesterday.
Jolene Tan, a senior manager at Aware – an organisation in Singapore which champions women’s rights – said: “Quirky poses and pictures can be fun but, sometimes, they also become expressions of competitiveness or insecurity.”
The most controversial internet crazes
The most controversial internet crazes
1/7 Gun Selfies
Where it actually came from remains a mystery, but the 'Selfie' remains a popular feature on the internet - it was even named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries in 2013. However, a number of gangs in America have taken it a step further, posting 'gun selfies' of themselves. Last year, two men were charged for 142 counts of possession of a firearm and were bailed by police after posting numerous photos. The craze has led to several calls for photos to be taken down, with parents fearing that children could try and create their own poses.
Originating in Australia in 2008, the trend of 'planking' swept Britain a year later. The craze, in which people form a straight figure with hands down by their sides, had thousands of participants uploading their efforts on to Facebook. While most were harmless enough, the more daring have been known to plank across railway tracks and between buildings, causing major health concerns. In 2011, a 20-year-old man died after 'planking' on a seven-story building in Australia.
Twerking, a mixture of twisting and jerking, has been around since the late 1990s, but its popularity dramatically increased after Miley Cyrus 'twerked' at the 2013 MTV VMA awards with Robin Thicke, prompting fans to upload their own versions on Youtube - we've even had twerking stormtroopers. It's since been accused of corrupting the minds of young people and, last year, 33 students were suspended after making a video of themselves 'twerking' using school equipment.
4/7 Happy Slap
It's been almost a decade since the Happy Slap craze broke out in the UK, but what started out in as a small joke between friends in Lewisham in 2004 eventually became a nationwide phenomenon. Happy Slapping involved a victim being filmed on a camera phone getting slapped. As the craze spread, incidents became more and more vicious and it was linked to a rise in bullying in school playgrounds. In 2008, a teenage girl was sentenced to two years' detention after filming the fatal beating of a man.
'Tombstoning' emerged in 2012 as a much more dangerous fad. It involved finding the highest rock to leap from, giving jumpers sufficient time to change their body position to resemble a tomb falling into the sea. It was invented initially as a way to keep cool during sizzling temperatures, but as the challenges became more daunting, some experienced horrific injuries as a result of jumping into shallow or rocky waters.
While not as dangerous as other internet fascinations, McDonald's staff are now finding themselves on the receiving end of another internet craze. 'McDiving' started last year and normally comes at the end of an alcohol-fuelled night out, where it is then customary for a 'McDiver' to go to the nearest McDonald's and launch themselves over the counter. McDonald's franchises have even started hiring bouncers at peak times of the day to deal with any mischief makers.
7/7 Gallon Smashing
Given that glossy floors are prominent in supermarkets, it would be deemed acceptable to see the occasional person slip over. But this is no accident. Gallon smashing started to appear on Youtube last year and has becoming increasingly popular in the US. It sees agile teenagers throw gallons of milk in the air as well as hurtling themselves on to the ground. However, with the mess, cost and inconvenience that is caused, the 'gallon smashing' craze has seen security stepped up in supermarkets.
She added that the trend seemed to be “one more way of scrutinising women’s bodies to see whether they are ‘good enough’” and warned: “We need to do more to promote acceptance of diversity in women’s bodies.”
Experts, however, say the challenge does not necessarily mean that participants have a super-slim body – but rather that they are simply flexible and have long arms.
And it’s not just women who are embracing the trend. One young man – with a slightly curvaceous figure – has attempted the craze which has, so far, garnered over 10,000 likes.
so sehun are trying to prove he's fit with this bizarre Chinese belly button challenge pic.twitter.com/AYAT1myvVT; jannah (@jongintoofab) June 11, 2015
Here are pictures of some girls trying out the trending 'Belly Button Challenge' pic.twitter.com/xAZZZBiF6x; vince (@exostruck) June 11, 2015
Oh so this is a trend in China now? "Belly Button Challenge" pic.twitter.com/AHVG6BFZyh; 백'ㅅ'현 (@ohbaekhyunie) June 11, 2015