Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The ridiculous bikini bridge


Apologies to my usual Lib Dem readers who probably think a 'bikini bridge' is a bridge made out of bikinis or a bridge with women in bikinis standing on it.  A bikini bridge in the contemporary sense is the gap that exists between a bikini bottom and the lower abdomen. You only have to look at the picture to know what I am referring to. 

The bikini bridge has become the new trend after '4chan' created a internet hoax whereby they encouraged people to post pictures of their bikini bridge and revealed that it was set up to see the response and how easily people would succumb to the trend. A '4chan' user said, "After a fair amount of circulation has been accomplished, we circulate the images throughout parts of the Internet known to be biased on the subject of weight (i.e. thin privilege, fat shaming, etc). This should cause large enough of a stir to snowball into a fairly big subject.”

The bikini bridge is part of the body image which dominates the lives of the girls of my generation. Another body image obsession is over the 'thigh gap' (a thigh gap appears when the legs don't meet above the knees because they are so skinny). The bikini bridge and the thigh gap are constantly being obsessed over by girls on social media sites tumblr, facebook, twitter, at schools and I have have even overheard conversations on the streets about it. There are Instagram accounts dedicated to the aim of being extremely thin. Some of the pictures posted show girls in an unhealthy physical state to the extent that it interferes with their everyday life. 

The following was a comment posted on a thigh gap Instagram account, "Today during my exams I was having insane hunger pains. My head hurt and it felt like I was going to throw up all morning. Its all worth it though." This unattainable body image for girls has become extremely dangerous because it leads to self harm, eating disorders and sometimes even suicide. The bikini bridge craze may have been set up as a hoax but it is becoming a real thing and a harmful one at that.

Girls of my generation are very skewed in the way that they view a healthy body. Fitness has become mixed up with wanting to live up to the physical ideal of a skinny top model. Skipping meals, forcing yourself to throw up and weighing 100 lbs are not marks of fitness. I was moved to conduct a personal experiment. My friend and I both weighed ourselves and calculated our BMI (body mass index). She is 5'6", weighs 112lbs and has a BMI of 18.08. I am 5'9", weigh 133lbs and I have a BMI of 19.64. Both of our BMIs are very healthy yet neither of us have a thigh gap, bikini bridge or the body of a supermodel but we do not have physical problems either that result from our lifestyles or choices that we make as girls. 

My generation is obsessed with appearance and image rather than reality. All of these unhealthy crazes stem from this obsession. Who is to blame? Is it the young girl's fault for buying into the hype? Is it social media's fault for reinforcing 'body perfection' through the bikini bridge and the thigh gap? It is worrying that my generation prioritises looks and style over things like intelligence and academic ambition. It is as if the feminist fight for self worth has not trickled down to my generation. 

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