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First came the thigh gap. Then came the bikini bridge. Now social media has presented us with the “bellybutton challenge,” a viral craze encouraging women to achieve an unreasonable level of thinness. But the lingerie company Curvy Kate is looking to nip this dangerous thread in the bud.
The basic premise of the #bellybuttonchallenge is that if a woman is thin enough, she can reach her arm around her back and all the way around her waist to touch her bellybutton.
But Curvy Kate, a plus-size lingerie brand targeted at women with D-cups and up, is fighting back. The company is encouraging women to post photos of themselves holding their boobs with the hashtag #BoobsOverBellybuttons.
Curvy Kate launched the campaign in conjunction with the breast cancer charity CoppaFeel!, which encourages women to conduct regular breast self-exams.
“Well here at Curvy Kate HQ we think that [the bellybutton challenge] is a load of old tosh,” the company wrote on its blog:
“There are a heck of a lot more important things to be checking on your body than whether your arms are flexible enough to reach all the way around your own torso. So welcome the #BoobsOverBellyButtons movement! We want to encourage you guys to check your boobs and get to know what normal feels like…rather than doing these ridiculous body-shaming (and downright painful) demonstrations.”
The company shared photos of two of its models demonstrating the new challenge.
I have so much respect for @curvykate for starting the #boobsoverbellybuttons challenge. It’s extremely important for women to check their breasts for signs of cancer and it’s great of a company to take a stand against a negative social media trend. #imnoangel #imnomodeleither #bodypositivity #bigboobproblems #fatchicks #chubby #curvy #Kcup #plussize #loveyourself #plussizelingerie #plussizefashion #curvykate #curvykateprincess #curvyisntasize #coppafeel
A photo posted by Danielle (@rollsandcurves) on
Came across the famous “belly button challenge” and then came across curvy Kate’s “boobs over belly buttons”. This belly button challenge supposedly determines whether you need to loose weight or not by simply trying to wrap your arm round your back and touch your belly button. NO. Your body shape and weight shouldn’t be determined by your flexibility! It’s ridiculous! I’m not body bashing anyone that can do it and I’m not saying it because I can’t do it myself but, curvy Kate’s campaign is trying to get women to over rule this daft trend by doing #boobsoverbellybuttons promoting checking your boobs for anything unusual and focusing on what’s important in regards to health! Come on girls 💪 #curvykate #bellybutton #challenge #boobs #breastcancerawareness
A photo posted by JessicaExo (@tuftyjxo) on
A photo posted by curvykate (@curvykate) on
While #boobsoverbellybuttons is certainly preferable to the body-shaming #bellybuttonchallenge, it is worth noting that there’s a long tradition of corporations sexualizing women’s bodies to raise awareness of breast cancer.
Earlier this month, for instance, a “Hold A Coke With Your Boobs” challenge featuring women holding bottles of Coca-Cola with their breasts went viral. Although it was intended to raise money for breast cancer, both Coca-Cola and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation were quick to distance themselves from the challenge, with the latter organization saying it “trivialized” the disease.
That said, Curvy Kate is known for its body positive campaigns, which promote women of all shapes and sizes. Earlier this year, fthe company held a “Star in a Bra” online contest, in which Internet users could vote for the star of the next Curvy Kate plus-size lingerie campaign.
“I just had to keep reminding myself that I’m doing this for all voluptuous women out there and that kept me going,” Adams told the Daily Dot.
Photo via Curvy Kate
Marisa Kabas is a lifestyle reporter and activist. Her work has been published by Fusion, Fast Company, and Today. She’s also served as an editorial campaigns director for Purpose PBC, a social movement incubator.