What’s all this talk of the ‘belly-button challenge’?


I was recently scrolling through my social media feeds when I stumbled across what seemed to be a new internet craze that has taken the world by storm – and driven women everywhere into a frenzy of panic. It’s a craze that’s got everyone talking, but not a lot of people recognising what it’s actually doing to our mental wellbeing.

Women in clothes as small as a size 6 are being told they’re too fat. Women who maintain a healthy diet, and complete regular exercise, are being led to believe they’re not working hard enough. Why? It’s all because of the ‘belly-button challenge’.

So, what is it? A hidden form of body-shaming. A ridiculous test. A form of horrific bullying that’s convincing all kinds of women across the globe that they need to shed the pounds, based on facts that aren’t even worth your time.

The test involves reaching your arm round the back of your body, and trying to touch your own belly button. ‘Science’ supposedly suggests that if you can do this, you’re healthy. And if not, you need to lose weight. What an absurd suggestion.

But, being the open-minded person that I am, I thought I’d give it a go and see for myself if my own body matched up to this ‘scientifically’ proven ‘healthy image’.


I’m a size 10. I eat healthily and exercise every day. My body isn’t perfect, but it certainly isn’t restricting my health either.  In order to make sure I wasn’t alone in my confusion about why my attempt was so poor, I challenged other real women to give it a try, and here’s what happened…


Not only is this physically impossible for even the tiniest of bodies, but I also can’t help but feel we would all need arms like Mr. Tickle in order to achieve anywhere near this level of contortion. This is not an accurate representation of our health, and we should not rely on invalid information like this to judge whether our bodies are acceptable or not.

For people to genuinely be fretting over something like this, and for the media to be showcasing this as ‘science’ is ridiculous, and cannot be overlooked as something that will simply ‘pass over’. Crazes like this may come and go, but personal insecurities can last forever.

I challenge science to tell me exactly how myself, or any of these women are ‘fat’. I challenge society to take a good, hard look in the mirror. And I challenge you to shake off the expectations, rid yourself of your insecurities, and live your life happily, humanly and healthily with your own unreachable belly button, and in your own perfect skin.


Featured image: Tanvir Alam/ Flickr.

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