Here’s a riddle for your Wednesday: If you don’t take regular photos in a bikini, are you really an Instagram ‘influencer’ at all?
The answer seems to be no, and now, according to the Daily Mail, there’s a brand new body trend all the ‘it’ women in bikinis are prescribing to: ribcage bragging.
Ribcage bragging, apparently, refers to poses which elongate and accentuate a person’s torso, such that their ribs visibly protrude. Like this (where’s your… face?):
Of course, despite their excitement, it’s important to note the Daily Mail hasn’t stumbled across anything new. For years, bikini models have posed in similar ways to make their bodies look longer and leaner.
But there is a visible trend towards having a very specific type of body, and taking photos of it to share with an unimaginably large audience. This body – with a large, toned bum, hips, boobs, and a stomach so flat you can see ribs – is also ‘celebrated’ in an unprecedented way.
The comments on these photos are incredibly telling. While there are a number of people who criticise these influencers for being ‘too thin,’ the vast majority heap on praise for being ‘body goals’ (grammatically…. such a phrase makes no sense) and comment some variation of ‘I want to look like her’.
Watch: Hey Mia, are you an advocate for male body image positivity? Post continues after video.
Of course, there are countless more who don’t write it but think it, internalise it, and use these images as a yardstick against which their own bodies will never measure up.
I’m not sure I even need to say that for the most part, this body doesn’t exist. Personally, it doesn’t matter how far I stretch, no one’s seeing ribs.
But my voice (figuratively speaking) isn’t as loud as Bella Hadid’s. Or Kendall Jenner’s. Or Emily Ratajkowski’s. The big name celebrities and influencers who participate in these trends have tens of millions of followers, and say far more with an Instagram photo than I ever could.
Listen: As if women aren’t bombarded with enough body ‘trends’, a certain type of nipple is in fashion apparently. (Post continues after audio.)
I’m actually not particularly invested in ‘ribcage bragging,’ or the ‘bikini bridge,’ or the ‘thigh gap’ as individual trends. I’m concerned about the overall way in which platforms like Instagram encourage unparalleled objectification of women, and how influencers and celebrities are entirely complicit in this process.
Whatever the trend, it sends the same message: women are their bodies, and nothing more.
And that’s what we need to challenge.