Bikini Bridges: How The Internet Manufactured The Latest Outrageous Trend

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GraceAtwood_052813_328Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Have you heard about the outrageously offensive thinspo "trend," the bikini bridge? Basically, it's what happens when a tight swim bottom stretches between two protruding hipbones, creating an elevated span of fabric over the pelvis. And, lately, users of online image-board 4chan have been explicitly encouraging each other to share Instagram-y photos of women with this "bridge," igniting a flurry of articles, tweets, and posts decrying the fad.

Emblazoned across the pics are the usual thinspo messages that verge on body shaming. For instance, over a photo of a young-looking, white-woman's flat stomach and bikini bridge, the text reads, "If you have time to complain, you have time to train #bikinibridge." There are a few other examples, all meant to be shared to create the illusion of a trend. However, it turns out that while it is a real concept — the term has been around for a while, it's far from a thing. Instead, it's all part of 4chan's social-media campaign to turn bikini bridges viral.

According to the Daily Dot, phase two of the sh*t-stirring is laid out by an anonymous 4chan poster:

"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 fact that this bikini bridge controversy has been so easy to manufacture speaks to how believable it actually is. It's not all that different from messages about our bodies we as women already hear all the time. Indeed, it seems that there are many men and women who picked up the #bikinibridge movement in earnest support. For the rest of us, it's important to understand the origin of this hoax and to contemplate what it says about our culture that it caught on so easily.

It's also important to remember that 4chan users skew heavily male. In fact, there are regular posts that explicitly endorse misogynistic viewpoints. In short, it often doesn't feel like a welcoming space for many women. So, why would we let ourselves be trolled by a bunch of bored dudes manufacturing a controversial, nearly unattainable version of female beauty?

So, let's focus on the real issues that confront us in whatever way we can. While bikini bridges may spark constructive discussions over beauty standards, they're more likely to just be a big waste of time. (Daily Dot)

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