I thought things couldn’t get worse than the cinnamon and chili pepper challenges.

But this latest finger-navel reach-around business somehow manages to be a universe and a half worth of worse.

If it’s new to you, here’s an Asian celeb doing it:

And this show off:

(I love when Aphex Twin dresses up his “Windowlicker” music video costume for fun!)

(And, yes, I do look even worse than that sans Sephora. Moving on.)

So, on the surface, it just seems like the “can you lick your elbow/touch your tongue to your nose” kindofa thing we used to do in grade school (along with a few yes-ands from the snickering boys whose balls hadn’t even dropped yet about “touching both elbows behind our backs”). Right? Innocent enough? But, the thing is, challenges never go viral just for being cute. There has to be someone making themselves uncomfortable so that you can feel it too. And belly button challenge does that on a couple levels. First, because of these contortionist chicks who’re doing it while I’m trying to eat dinner, yes. But the other reason is cuzza the implication the whole challenge is founded on: that if you can reach behind your back, then back around your belly, and touch you tummy crater… then you’re healthy. It’s like the new “size zero” qualifier. Somehow (ignorance) we went from a fitness-barometer of scale numbers, to clothing tag numbers, to the jettisoning of figures about our figure altogether in favor of Gumby pseudoscience. It’s ironic in that it’s like a yoga posture, yet sends the opposite self-worth message from what yoga induces when you do it f’real.

But the irony may not end with that.

There may be more to this than meets the navel gazing eye or navel gripping digits. Because, while the DailyMail reports that the Chinese initiated challenge claims “…if you can complete the challenge, it proves you have a good body, but if you cannot, you need to lose weight,” something struck me about that. Not the claim itself, mind you; I feel like you’re smarter than me having to clarify that this isn’t a remotely factual assertion.

Case (of beer, apparently – daily) in point.

Rather, where the challenge originated was what was of interest for me. ‘cause when it started up in China with all the celebs there doing it, it was a real head-scratcher. Did they really believe this shiz? Even after I read that their latest trend was “based on a U.S.” study, I still thought: “For some of the smartest peeps on the planet, they sure do downgrade for their role models.” Then it hit me. Sometimes sarcasm gets lost in translation. And that’s exactly what has to be going on here. The ironic comic jest is that we’re idiots with misplaced ideas about health and beauty with our yo yo diets, cayenne pepper lemonade fasts, and belief that the water weight won’t come right back after a sweaty Bikram sesh. Girls have no real role models following a balanced health path, so they start believing in anything that comes along. And China’s subtle-humor delivery that throws this back in our face is just as deliciously twisted as the bodies performing the challenge itself. What’s even more fun is that, now that it’s made it here, everyone’s doing it. And not as a joke.

Finally, the world makes sense again. And I’d totally tip my hat to you China.

But I’ve just dislocated both my shoulders trying to validate my self-worth online.