Monday 26 September 2016

Caitlin McBride: Like it or not, 'bikini bridge' is a real thing and a very real danger

Published 10/01/2014 | 13:08

It has been brought to my attention by relentless, let's call them 'enthusiastic' social media-ites that the origin of the 'bikini bridge' is believed to be part of a hoax campaign started by 4chan.

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For those of you unfamiliar, 4chan is an online forum comprised mainly of anonymous users, which specialises in memes, gifs and general tomfoolery. Their recent prank highlighted the 'new' craze of the 'bikini bridge' - a very real phenomenon, which the joke website inadvertently played as a hoax - despite its origins steeping as far back as 2009.

It is in fact, a very real concern as most women will understand. I thought the 'thigh gap' was an outrageous aspiration when I first heard of it. Not because of a high moral stance or the general consensus that it promotes an unhealthy body image; but because as far as I was concerned, some slimmer girls always had a gap between their legs. Even when I was at my slimmest, I never had the elusive gap and that was just how it was.

When it comes to weight loss, I just want to keep fitting into my clothes and I'm happy.

Unfortunately, my opinion piece yesterday highlighting this fad seems to have added fuel to the fire.

Anorexia has existed since I can remember, then with the relatively early days of the internet, came the pro-anorexia websites; now there's #Thinspiration images with either genetically blessed or ill women showing off their super-slim physiques for all to see.

And now, thanks to the collective brains of the internet, there are terms coined specifically focused on parts of the body the internet feels you should improve on.

A spokeswoman for The National Eating Disorders Association of America told the Washington Post that this is typical disordered behaviour, albeit, in a new format.

“There is nothing new about those obsessions. What is new is that coined terms like ‘thigh gap’ and ‘bikini bridge’ – and the news articles, images, hashtags and social media comparisons that come with them — have given those obsessions larger and more competitive platforms.”

In fact, the 'Bikini Bridge' fan page was started in September 2012, with its creator enthusiastically thanking 'fans' for the new appreciation into the fad yesterday with 1,000 more fans liking the page in the last 24 hours.


This term has been trending all  week and, as a writer for Ireland's biggest news website, it's part of my job to keep on top of trends and inform readers (who are interested) of what is topical.

A very basic Google search would show this, yet I'm being attacked by the keyboard warriors of Twitter and Reddit. They range in topic; critiquing my professional standards, competence, attitude and bizarrely, my looks. (See below).



reddit crop.jpg

My point yesterday was that this is a developing phenomenon, which has been manipulated by social media. The incredibly beautiful and slim Kim Kardashian and Miranda Kerr have both been known to Photoshop images of their body. They have endless access to nutritionists and personal trainers, yet they still resort to twisting their image for online approval.

The trolls missed the point of the entire piece and still do. I'll reiterate - the only healthy body aspiration is - your own.

That point is still relevant.

P.S. I find it particularly hilarious that someone thinks I only write three stories a week.


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