The hashtag #a4waist has more than 200 posts on Instagram right now, with most of those photos representing a backlash against the “A4 Waist” movement that took off on Weibo, as reported by the Independent. Weibo is a popular social media platform in China — one that helped make the troublesome trend popular, where some women stood holding an A4 size of paper up to their waists, to see if they were smaller than the sheet of A4 paper.
#A4paperchallenge #a4waistchallenge #waistline #waistchallenge #paperchallenge #a4waist É até menor que o A4, mas pra mostrar que é muito mais questão de BIOTIPO, do que algo que vc deva almejar. Da mesma forma que existem meninas com esse diâmetro de quadril. Também não critiquem, dizendo que isso é magreza excessiva (to bem longe disso, não faço exercício e amo comer, não estou no peso ideal para a minha altura!), ou exagero, ou feio, ou "coisa de menina que não tem o que fazer, que não come nada".. algumas nasceram assim e são tão lindas quanto qualquer outra. ???? Ame suas curvinhas.
In one Instagram post, a user brags about the A4 waist challenge being complete, while the comments section has colorful words — translated from Arabic — showing that the viewers disapprove of the A4 waist challenge.
Whereas standard sheets of legal-sized paper run larger, A4 sheets of paper are approximately 8.3 inches by 11.7 inches — so it would take a very small slip of a woman to disappear behind such a small sheet of paper. On Twitter, the “A4 Waist” label and “A4 Waist Challenge” already has some pretty funny tweets mocking the crazy trend.
— Julia Macfarlane (@juliamacfarlane) March 17, 2016
The A4 waist challenge is anything but healthy, and critics say that it’s not an ideal challenge to help foster positive body images. It’s one thing if a person is naturally thin and can’t help their body size — but to brag about it by fitting behind a sheet of A4 paper isn’t being found as the best idea to encourage others. Those who aren’t naturally as small as a teeny piece of A4 paper could be unhealthily encouraged to diet down to weights that are too thin for their body frames.
In response to what some are calling a ridiculous A4 waist challenge to fit behind a very small piece of paper — some social media users are holding up their own pieces of paper that are more important to them. Those documents include college degrees and other accomplishments that go well beyond trying to fit a waist behind a A4-sized piece of paper.
The circumference of waist sizes can vary widely, and even two women that both share a 25-inch waist, for example, might have a waist width that also differs.
I couldn't believe it when I heard about the #a4waistchallenge. Yes, some people are naturally quite thin or have health problems which prevent them from gaining weight, but people should love themselves no matter their size. No one should compare themselves/their size to a piece of paper. Love yourself for who you are. #a4waist #a4waistchallengeisaloadofcrap #bullshit #loveyourself #behappyinyourownskin #beyourself #selfie #feelfantasticfriday #happy #proudnurse #proud
In actuality, the A4 waist challenge is a matter of angles and smoke and mirrors. In some of the photos that are tagged with #A4waist or #A4waistchallenge on social media feature women holding the A4 paper in front of them at various distances, which can make their waists appear as if they easily fit behind such a small piece of paper.
More backlash photos feature people holding A4-sized pieces of paper in front of their faces, or huge posters in front of their bodies as they flip up their middle fingers for their “A4 waist challenge” selfies. Yet and still, some are enjoying the challenge and claiming that their #A4waist entitles them to dessert indulgences.
“Guess I deserve another scoop of ice cream after all.”
Those folks who realize how much the A4 waist challenge represents another troubling fad that might place pressure on people to lose weight in unhealthy ways are going against the trend with inspirational words telling others to love themselves no matter what. It would take a triple zero size in America in order to experience a 23-inch waist, which is the equivalent of a size zero in the U.K.
So I heard there's this new ridiculous way of measuring a woman's self-worth: the more similar your waist size is to an a4 piece of paper, the better you are at womaning. I don't have that tiny waist because I eat a kilo of nutella a month, but I am good at backdoor bragging so here's me with my large non-a4-sized fueled-by-nutella chubster torso and my master of science degree. #a4waist
One positive thing coming out of the whole A4 waist challenge is that most folks realize how inane the challenge can be, and as such, they are turning the whole A4 challenge on its head. Despite the controversy, the A4 waist challenge has caused plenty of people to hold paper in front of their torsos.
[Image via Shutterstock]