The Underboob Pen, iPhone Legs, Paper Waist: It's as if every week, social media has a challenge for women that dials back our overall progress as humans
When I first read about vaginal beer this week, I had to close my eyes for five seconds before finally rolling them. Those five seconds must have indicated how tired I was of encountering these supposedly fun and novel things that are, at its very core, idiotic.
Vaginal beer is said to possess the essence of femininity with genital bacteria "isolated from a Czech model." The rest of its description pretty much reads like witchcraft to me, which is hilarious since this brand of witches' brew is concocted by men who, traditionally, would never have been burned at a stake.
Every week social media gamely play host to one vexing "challenge" after another that dials back our overall progress as human beings—specifically our views on womanhood and femininity.
Just last week, for example, we learned about a so-called test in China where girls measured the width of their legs by pressing them together against the length of an iPhone 6. Posts of this nature showed up on my news feeds side by side with another trend where girls displayed how slender they are by sizing up their waistlines against the width of an A4 paper.
What a time to be alive.
It's easy for most people to label all these boredom busters as just another fun way to kill time. But it's different for women, just for the sheer fact that these craziness are directed at us. Truth is, all this senselessness does is to give booming voice to the tiniest murmur we women have inside that leads us to doubt the confidence we have worked so hard for to acquire.
In a world where an underboob pen challenge apparently determines your "realness" as a woman, you have to wonder whether your other attributes truly mean anything, or if you really are, after all, just a piece of meat.
I like to think that women have come a long way in rising above the standards set by the many self-titled arbiters of perfection in our midst. Many of us have jobs and are paid well because that's what we deserve. We have spending power that affords us luxuries that were once just gifts from men. However, not all women are as lucky as the others. More of us are still poor and do not have the privilege of education, housing, and even healthcare. Let’s not forget that some women are transgenders and have to deal with an extra serving of discrimination daily.
And now you want us to feel more unreal by undergoing these dumb tests?
It’s infuriating how “real” has become the go-to ideal for measuring a woman's worth. You see, “real” also sadly promotes the opposite. It implies there is something inherently fake with what already feels natural to us. What if I want to look like a vampire, or if goth makeup brightens my mood?
"Real"—as are "natural", #nomakeup, #nofilter, Woke Up Like This, The Paper Waist, iPhone Legs, Underboob Pen Challenges, Bikini Bridge—is not liberating, however empowering it's projected to appear and sound. It's just another way to make us feel insecure of our bodies and ourselves. Another impossible hurdle we must face and overcome...just rebranded for virality's sake.
I say, F*CK THIS SH*T. How's that for real?
Anne is a freelance writer and a former IT professional. She's known to be an Internet lollygagger, tech junky, and a staunch feminist.