Rib Cage Bragging, a bizarre trend

The Asian Age.  | Swati Sharma

Entertainment, Bollywood

Experts warn that this new crazy online trend, which many celebrities have been following, comes with serious consequences.

Bella Hadid

From thigh gaps to ab cracks, people’s aspirations to be as skinny as celebrities are now a part of our culture, with the latest trend on social media being of celebs showing off their ribs. But is this new trend taking the cult of skinny to a new low?  

For the uninitiated, rib cage bragging involves celebrities posing to show off their rib cages. In recent times, celebrities like Bella Hadid, Kourtney Kardashian, Rita Ora and Tanishaa Mukerji have all bared their rib cages on social media, while Jacqueline Fernandez showed off her ribs in the remake of Madhuri Dixit’s hit number Ek Do Teen. It doesn’t stop there. Once celebrities do something, others follow blindly, sometimes to the extreme.

Quite naturally, these ‘thinspiration’ trends have raised concerns from various sections of the society. “As everyone knows, Jacqueline Fernandez is a fitness freak. She has an amazing body and takes really good care of it. But when she was dancing in her most recent song, I could see her ribs popping out and it wasn’t a good sight. It’s okay to be skinny because some people are born that way, but some women become skinny in an unhealthy way and that’s dangerous,” says Deborah Doris Fell, a beauty pageant winner and a participant of Kingfisher Supermodels.

Tanishaa Mukerji

She adds, “My advice to everyone out there is to love yourself, no matter what body type you have. If you don’t like it, then make certain changes in a healthy way. Most celebrities take extra care of their faces and bodies because that’s very important to them. Their job is extremely demanding and they are scrutinised 24/7.”

Unlike abs or a flat stomach, flaunting one’s rib cage highlights a ‘skin and bones’ type of body that is often achieved through unhealthy dietary choices that can in turn, lead to serious eating disorders.

Fitness trainer Kunal Gir, who is a trainer to Ranbir Kapoor, Rana Daggubati, Tamannaah Bhatia, Rakul Preet Singh and others, says, “Women who have dieted or rather starved their way to such a look tend to become temporarily sterile. It’s nature’s way of saying — we don’t want more like you. For women, a healthy body fat to aspire for is 20 per cent. Anything lower may be in trend, but won’t be healthy. I don’t know how long Jacqueline trained for it, but if it’s done only for a short period of time, it shouldn’t be harmful. The danger is if you plan to do it long-term.”

Any obsession that focuses on one part of the body in particular should thus, ideally be discouraged. “My studio’s philosophy is all about total body wellness, so if you don’t have the body type, achieving the look can be dangerous. There is nothing healthy about it. If you happen to naturally have a similar body type, then perhaps seeing your ribs is not so bad as long as you maintain a healthy weight and diet along with a healthy amount of physical activity. But most women are not blessed with such a body type,” says Sri, fitness director at Sri Dance & Fitness Studio and a regular at WHO conferences.

Jacqueline Fernandez

According to the US tabloid Star, Kim Kardashian had her ribs surgically removed in order to achieve an hourglass figure! The protruding rib cage, and the side effects of this craze cannot be ignored. Experts like Dr Janki warn, “Being malnourished is not beauty — either very low weight or high weight. In the long run, they lose the charm and charisma of their personality. The bones become weak and can easily break. With low immunity and energy levels, one cannot perform normal activities.”

With celebrities having a strong influence on society, youngsters are especially susceptible to unrealistic notions of body image and can get easily influenced by what they see.

“Young women have it tough as rules of how your body should look apply more to women than men, so we really need to be careful what we expose our children to. The best way to combat these issues is to live a healthy life as parents and teach kids to stay healthy. We can do this by modelling good behaviour, focusing on mental and physical health instead of looks, accepting a child and ourselves as we are and constantly talking to our children about their sense of self. If we do it right, no celebrity or other person can influence a young mind as much as a good parent can,” says counselling psychologist Diana Monteiro.