Chinese internet users give middle finger to ‘four-centimeter wrist challenge’ beauty fad

Society & Culture

The latest beauty fad on the Chinese internet — following the A4 waist challenge and the thigh gap challenge — is called the #4cmWristChallenge (in Chinese), which is exactly what it sounds like. Participants take photos of themselves with a ruler placed next to their wrists, providing evidence that their wrists measure less than 1.57 inches.

Since the challenge took off on Weibo earlier this week, it has gotten thousands of responses, with women earnestly showing off their tiny wrists. As of March 19, the hashtag has garnered 17 million views and inspired more than 20,000 Weibo posts.

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The challenge is meaningless and its popularity is baffling, only serving as a reminder of the dangerous beauty standards that Chinese society imposes on women. It has also prompted quite the backlash.

Body-positive activists have slammed the fad for propagating impractical physical ideals and promoting the idea that women should aspire to thinness. A number of women responded with, well, take a look:

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“Is this how you do it?”

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“Enough body shame? Get out of my face.”

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“Here comes another misogynist topic. Get out of here.”

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“Pale, slender, and young. These beauty standards have made lots of women feel shitty about their bodies. I hope women lose weight for the sole purpose of fitness, not to meet an unattainable body image. Don’t be tamed. Don’t accept man-made beauty standards. Join me in this movement!”

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“Mind your own business.”

The Chinese internet is no stranger to challenges of this nature. In 2015, the collarbone challenge swept Weibo, with women sharing images of themselves putting coins in their collarbones. A year later, in a viral beauty craze called #A4Challenge, hundreds of thousands of women measured their waists with A4 paper.