Disturbing ‘bikini bridge’ fad a hoax; faked by the same people who triggered the #CutForBieber hashtag

Social media users make up new body shaming fad in a bid to make it go viral - but the hoax has horrifyingly led to serious body image issues…


by Kayleigh Dray |
Published on

The internet may provide us with easy access to inspirational stories, thought-provoking articles and videos of kittens, but it is also a source of disturbing fads, all-too-persuasive body shaming campaigns and psychologically-damaging information.

And now it seems as if twisted internet users are inventing brand new ways for women to hate their bodies, simply because they think it’s really funny and clever.

Picture-sharing site 4chan has made headlines before; last year, users triggered the #CutForBieber hashtag, adding captions to images of self-harm to make it look as if teens were slashing themselves in protest at Justin Bieber’s weed-smoking.

And, while many rushed to slam the images, desperately begging Beliebers not to follow suit, it's more than likely that many impressionable teens became caught up in the campaign.

Jumping on the fictional bandwagon, it is believed that many began cutting themselves and adding the hashtag to pictures of their handiwork - and it was all thanks to those internet pranksters.

Now, according to The Daily Dot, 4chan users have set up Operation Bikini Bridge - and it has already gone viral.

4chan’s random imageboard /b/ is behind Operation Bikini Bridge, an attempt to spam social media and news sites with conflicting messages regarding the fashion phenomenon that occurs when “bikini bottoms are suspended between the two hip bones, causing a space between the bikini and the lower abdomen,” Urban Dictionary states.


Essentially, if you’re very thin, and you lie down in a bikini, your hip bones will stick out, lifting up the front of your bikini bottoms and creating a "bridge".

There were already plenty of images on Instagram of women and young girls sporting "bikini bridges" but apparently that wasn't enough for 4chan users.

"Phase 1 of /b/’s plan is to create social media buzz calling the bikini bridge 'the next big thing.'"

To do so, 4chan took several existing 'bikini bridge' pictures, pasted a caption and a #bikinibridge on them and asked users to share the images across the internet.

Images such as this one were shared by 4chan users on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

The mission was to make the "trend" go viral, just as they had with the #CutForBieber hashtag. And it has been, judging by media coverage, a runaway success.

The hashtags #bikinibridge and #bikinibridge2014 have been tweeted thousands of times, due largely to 4can users sharing the hashtag.

4chan also created a Tumblr blog called The 4th Wave Feminist Manifesto to help fool people even more and fake Twitter accounts, like @j_betham and @kwatermalone, to goad real people on Twitter into getting upset.

It has now been revealed that the campaign, and the "bikini bridge trend", was a hoax. But what started as an Internet prank could prove to do lasting damage by giving people with eating disorders a dangerous new goal to obsess over, health experts say.

"Even if it was dreamed up by a bunch of anonymous Internet users, the bikini bridge is "a thinspiration members' dream come true," said Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association.

"When someone HAS an eating disorder, they will view this as a challenge - do I have that bridge? It just promotes the sad competition in a person's brain, as they never feel thin enough."

Katie Lowe, who blogs about health and body image at FatGirlPhD.com, explained to The Daily News that "The term 'bikini bridge' has been around since 2009, mostly on pro-anorexia forums… [Now that it's gone mainstream] I think (it will) be very difficult to shake.

"While it's apparently a joke to those 'in on it,' I have no doubt that a large number of the tweets and comments that followed it are from people who don't realise that - and will hold it up as yet another thing they should aspire to achieve.

"It's damaging on two fronts - firstly, by encouraging people not naturally built that way to develop disordered eating patterns in order to achieve it.

"Secondly, by creating a new tool for men and women to shame each other - either because they're 'too fat' to achieve it, or 'too thin' for possessing it."

Here at Closer HQ, we were shocked and saddened to hear about this "game" launched by 4chan. The photos are out there forever - and plenty of people, real people, are seemingly big fans of the new body fad, praising the girls in the pictures for being in good shape.

And, now that the idea of getting a "bikini bridge" is out there, many self-conscious women are almost guaranteed to strive towards getting them.

Quite simply, body shaming has gone viral. And we at think it's unacceptable.

You do NOT need a bikini bridge; learn to appreciate your own body, learn to love yourselves and learn that there is more than one type of perfection. Your body is YOUR temple. And a temple is for worshiping in, after all.

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