Ribcage bragging: The worrying new body trend currently sweeping social media

Bella Hadid shows off her protruding ribs [Photo: Instagram/bellahadid]
Bella Hadid shows off her protruding ribs [Photo: Instagram/bellahadid]

First came the thigh gap, which was swiftly followed by the bikini bridge and the A4 paper challenge, but the latest social media body trend could be the most disturbing yet. Say an unwelcome hello to ‘ribcage bragging.’

The worrying craze has seen a whole host of celebrities and social media influencers taking to their feeds to share images of their proudly protruding ribcages.

Where ‘strong’ not ‘skinny’ was the previous desired mantra, this latest in body crazes sees women celebrating the more their ribs stick out.

#Ibiza take me away…

A post shared by Nicole Scherzinger (@nicolescherzy) on Jul 17, 2016 at 2:44pm PDT

And just as other thinspiration trends have raised concerns about encouraging unrealistic body goals, ribcage bragging, as dubbed by the Daily Mail, is adding to the worrying message that extreme weightloss is the desired body shape.

A few years ago we reported on the thigh gap; a campaign which saw women posting selfies showing off the fact that the tops of their legs didn’t touch.

Next came the bikini bridge, which saw women snapping a picture revealing the space between their bikini bottoms and hip bones.

For ribcage bragging or the ribcage gap, the greater the prominence of your ribcage seems to equate to the more desirable the body shape, which is pretty darned scary.


A post shared by Rita Ora (@ritaora) on Jul 5, 2016 at 6:45am PDT

Stars like Bella Hadid, Rita Ora, Nicole Sherzinger and Kourtney Kardashian have all shared bikini clad images which proudly flaunt their prominent rib cages, and though they’re likely unaware the effect the shots could be having, it’s hard to ignore concerns that this could be piling the pressure on other women to strive for unrealistic body goals.

Thankfully, not all social media body trends are on the scary side and last year we reported on the #MermaidThighs trend, which encouraged women to embrace their natural body shape, touching thighs and all.

Where the thigh gap, ab crack and bikini bridge are designed to subtly shame women who don’t fit into a certain narrow definition of beauty, the #MermaidThighs movement was all about celebrating your body shape, whether you have a gap in your thighs or not.

Take me back ????????

A post shared by Emily Ratajkowski (@emrata) on Feb 18, 2017 at 10:07am PST

But don’t be thinking our dislike of the ribcage bragging craze is about dissing women who happen to have naturally protruding ribs. It’s not about skinny-shaming, but having an awareness of the pressure these images might be placing on young girls whose ribs will never have a gap no matter their exercise or healthy eating regime.

So body negative trends be gone, we’re all about spreading the Bo Po vibes. Because that’s way, way more empowering.

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