Celebrities like Bella Hadid, Kourtney Kardashian and Rita Ora are baring their rib cages in a social media trend that has shocked and worried many of their fans, and expert groups suggest that if past trends are any indication, they may be harming young women’s self-image.
The Sun reported that Hadid, 20, poses on the beach in a skimpy black string bikini in a Dec. 11, 2016 Instagram photo, and can be seen leaning forward to accentuate her whittled-down waist and pronounced ribs. In another, posted April 2, 2017, Hadid dons a red string bikini for a full body shot while lying down, and again, she poses to accentuate her ribs.
“She looks sick/unhealthy… not in a good way,” one commented.
The Sun reported that Emily Ratajkowski, 25, has also faced backlash online for a March 19, 2017 Instagram shot in which she sports an Army-green bikini.
“Please don’t take it as an insult but you need to put on about five to 10 pounds,” one commenter wrote of the “Blurred Lines” music video star.
Similarly, commenters have criticized pop star Rita Ora, 26, whose July 5, 2016 photo prompted comments from concerned fans, The Sun reported.
“I feel her rib cage is extremely protruded,” one wrote, “and to me that is not appealing.”
"X Factor" host Nicole Scherzinger and reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian are just two other offenders of flaunting their ribs on social media.
The American Psychological Association has reported that the sexualization of women in the media can have a profound impact on young girls’ body image issues, and research suggests that the media can increase the risk of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating, according to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).
“The effect of media on women’s body dissatisfaction, thin ideal internalization, and disordered eating appears to be stronger among young adults than children and adolescents,” according to the NEDA. “This may suggest that long-term exposure during childhood and adolescence lays the foundation for the negative effects of media during early adulthood.”
Of course, those harmful media cues are inescapable. However, The Sun reported that previous trends like thigh gap and ab crack flaunting also gained traction on social media — suggesting the platform could similarly be a powerful promotion tool for rib cage baring, potentially at the expense of young women.