There's a selfie trend that's sweeping social media and it's near impossible to do.

We had the mannequin challenge a few weeks ago. Now, it’s old.

We had the ice bucket challenge before that. It, too, disappeared.

Does anyone remember the cinnamon challenge? Yeah, me neither.

Internet challenges come and go like wildfire. One moment they’re at every second scroll of the screen, the next they’re forgotten and floating around the ether, banished to the shadows of our memory along with the name of our second-grade teacher and the recipe for salmon mornay.

The latest trend? The One Finger Selfie Challenge.

A challenge where (mostly) young women take a photograph of their naked body reflected in a mirror, holding one finger horizontally in front of the camera to ‘cover’ the breasts and vagina.

Confused? See below.


There are a few questions I have about this.

First: Are we forgetting these are nude images? Funny games trending on the internet is one thing, but doesn’t the ‘fun’ of it darken when nudity is involved?

Even when the challenge has disappeared and the hashtag is forgotten (as it inevitably will be), those photos will still be out there. For future employers, friends, colleagues, children, enemies to find. Isn’t this dangerous?

Second: What about different body shapes and types?

Bodies that don’t have flat stomachs and no pubic hair and perky breasts and small nipples?

Third: Why on Earth are men trying this?


Jumping on board any internet trend can seem obvious. Second nature. Everyone’s doing it. Technology makes it so easy.

But what happens 20 years from now – or even six months from now – when you ask yourself ‘why’?

Throwing yourself under a bucket of ice water might seem funny when someone digs up an old photo at a dinner party 10 years from now. You might laugh at yourself for freezing mid-movement in an office mannequin video, when your future employees discover some ‘dirt’ on their boss. But what are you going to say, how are you going to respond, when someone discovers a photograph of your naked body, covered, only just, by a finger-width? A photo that was taken by you, for the internet.

We have seen time, and time again, the damage revenge porn can cause. The mental anguish when a naked image is shared around the internet without the subject’s consent.

Think Jennifer Lawrence speaking about her fear, her anger, after photos of her naked body were leaked. Think the web forum “Aussie Sluts” that was shut down after images of school girls, taken without consent, were found on the site. Think Amanda Todd, the 15-year-old Canadian girl who committed suicide after receiving threats by a man who wanted to show the world – the internet – a photo of her breasts.

Consenting to have a naked image of yourself shared online seems crazy.

You might feel like you’re in control of the situation. You might feel “empowered” even, by participating in this challenge. But that feeling is deceptive. We’ve seen how quickly, how severely, the internet can turn. How quickly you can lose control of your own photograph, the number of people who are seeing it, the way they are looking at it and what they are saying about it.

One minute you’re a part of the “latest challenge”. The next moment, the challenge is forgotten and all people are talking about is your naked body and your too-skinny-to-cover-anything middle finger.

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