A hoax to stir the internet into a froth about the 'bikini bridge' - a so-called selfie trend where jutting hip bones are posted on Tumblr and Instagram - may have backfired.
4chan, an image sharing site, had a plan of action where they would first try and get loads of people to share images of their bikini bridges, which would then create a social media buzz. The second stage of the plan, reports The Daily Dot, was to circulate propaganda against the bikini bridge trend.
It reported an anonymous user of 4chan as saying: “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 operation appears to be a success so far," continues The Daily Dot. "Over the past 24 hours, #bikinibridge and #bikinibridge2014 have been tweeted more than 2,400 times. This is in large part to tweets from @blogilates (118,000 followers) and @_laurabozzo (25,000) sharing the hashtag."
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While there is something funny (admittedly verging on schadenfreude) to see big sites such as The Daily Mail and CNN get it so wrong, it's an easy mistake to make. After all, thigh gap IS a real thing, and the internet is a very easy playground to fuel negative body image trends.
Moreover, the real danger is that a lot of people may not realise it's a hoax, and for them, bikini bridge may actually turn into a real thing as a result. Media and image sharing sites should take responsibility; 'thinspiration', which helps to fuel eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, is not to be taken lightly.
Buzzfeed has since removed its pro-bikini bridge article - 12 Perks Of Having A Bikini Bridge - but has the damage has been done?
Elite Daily wrote one of the worst pro-pieces on the trend here, with Anthony Selden writing: "Ladies, it is my pleasure to announce that thigh gaps are currently outdated and no longer sought after. It’s time for you to get working on building that bikini bridge for the upcoming seasons ahead. Sure, the thigh gap is attractive and it’s made all of us drool for years but the bikini bridge is raising the stakes this year."
But not everyone was jumping at this new trend for wont of better things to write about.
Healthy blogger Katie Lowe posted:
As blogger Georgie on Diary Of An Aspiring Beach Babe rightly says: "I believe it is being used wrongly as 'thinspiration' and unfortunately anorexia/bulimia propaganda. All you need to do is search the #BikiniBridge tag into Tumblr and the tags #Pro-Ana and #Pro-Mia (anorexia and bulimia) will be shown alongside the majority of images that are found."
What's the solution, now that it's out there in the world wide web? Try and tell as many people as you can that it's a hoax and don't share any images on social media sites if you can.
And for those of you that think it's no big deal, try telling that to the teenage girls who have 'extreme fears about their weight loss'.Suggest a correction