It's no secret that social pressures on young Chinese to conform to certain body types are high - something that's been illustrated by the increasing number of 'beauty challenge' trends on social media sites such as Weibo, in which participants seek to prove their physical desirability by twisting, bending and sticking pens under their boobs (amongst other things). Ranging from the slightly worrying to the downright ridiculous, here's our look at some of the more notable tests from recent months.
In June last year, Korean boy band member Sehun took a picture of himself reaching his arms around his back to his belly button. The singer posted it on his Weibo account and the challenge took off, garnering some 150,000 shares and almost 500,000 likes. The pose, meant to show off a skinny waist, eventually accumulated more than 130 million mentions and many copycat attempts on Weibo.
Just a week after the ‘belly button’ challenge went viral, Chinese netizens were onto their next test to prove they were body-beautiful. If you've never given your collarbone much thought, then think again – apparently being able to stack a load of coins up there offers definitive proof of your slenderness (not to mention, a handy place to keep your change). One of the more popular images that surfaced was of Chinese actress Lv Jiarong putting some 80 ten-cent coins on her collarbones. Many internet users mocked the challenge by putting random objects like water bottles and even eggs up there.
Small waists, but big boobs – it's not easy to tick every criteria as more challenges pop up. Back in January, Chinese women took on the ‘underboob pen challenge’ - if they could grip a pen solely using the underside of the breasts, they were considered an enviable pair of assets. Originally, this test was given in an advice column in the Chicago Sun-Times as a way to see if women needed more support for their boobs, but somehow became an internet craze involving lots of topless selfies on Weibo. Guys even got in on the act by squeezing pens between their pecs - nice.
The 'belly button challenge' became old hat when someone whipped a sheet of A4 out of the printer and decided it was a new beauty standard. In order to prove one's trim waistline, all you have to do is place an A4 paper in front of your body, and if there's no sign of a midriff spilling out either side, then it is clear that you have a perfect figure.
The iPhone 6 was designed to have many useful facilities, such as calling people, checking the weather, and irritating everyone via Candy Crush Saga requests, but one thing the people at Apple probably never envisaged was its function as a leg-measurer. Chinese women took to Weibo and placed their smartphones over their knees to show how slim their legs were. Currently no word on whether you're allowed to join in if you don't have an iPhone 6.
The latest viral trend to strike China is to prove how small one’s face is, which is long seen as a sign of beauty. The best way to prove it? Reach your arms behind your head to your lips and attempt to apply lipstick. If you succeed, congratulations are in order, as you probably have a ‘perfect-sized’ face according to Chinese beauty standards.