Fitspiration shots can be the motivation we need to get out of bed and get to the gym occasionally. It can also be the added focus on our appearances we don’t need in a commercial world that falsely suggests all our value as women is based on what we look like.
One thing that is good about it, however, is it mostly encourages a mantra of strength over skinniness; feeling well over thigh gaps. But there’s a worrying new body image trend that is filtering through to even the most inspiring fitness bloggers’ posts. Introducing “rib bragging”.
Social media influencers, singers and models alike are uploading shots of themselves stretched and breathing in enough for their ribs to protrude. The phrase “rib bragging” was actually coined by the Daily Mail, who we wouldn’t normally pay any attention to, but we can’t think of a more fitting phrase than this.
The Hadid sisters, Kylie Jenner, Rita Ora and the Kardashian sisters are all among the “rib bragging” perpetrators, whether they realise it or not.
The trend has been illuminated during the same the week that France took steps to combat the unhealthy ‘cult of skinny’ head-on by banning the use of underweight models on the catwalks. In October, advertisers will also be required to label campaigns in which images have been retouched or manipulated.
Jutting ribs and hip bones have long been the mark of the unhealthily underweight. The problem with influencers revelling in their apparently hard fought for skinniness is that it once again perpetrates the message that extreme weight loss is good, and curves are something you have if you’re not skinny enough.
There’s a lot of work to be done here that won’t be fixed by Dove ‘real beauty bottles’ any time soon. And it starts with the way we value ourselves as individuals, rather than the importance we place on our aesthetic appearance.
We must too educate ourselves about the harm – and prolific nature – of eating disorders in the UK, many of which are triggered by this seemingly endless quest to achieve body perfection, alongside other biological factors. According to eating disorder charity B-eat, more than 725,000 men and women in the UK suffer from problems like anorexia and bulimia. Eating disorders also claim more lives than any other mental health issue, with one in five sufferers dying prematurely from malnutrition or suicide.
Suddenly, that bikini-clad Instagram post doesn’t seem so fun and trivial after all, does it?