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By Melissa Dahl

The “bikini bridge” appears to be the Internet’s latest way of ensuring that women hate their bodies. The "thigh gap" of 2014, if you will. 

It also appears to be a hoax, brought to us by bored users of 4chan, an image-based message board.

For the uninitiated, there are three key elements to building a bikini bridge: you’re wearing a bikini, you’re lying down, and your hipbones are protruding past your stomach. (It could be argued that the key structural element of the bridge is gravity rather than thinness, but whatever.) Users of the message board site 4chan have joined forces to make the bikini bridge a thing, bombarding social media with with #bikinibridge, which has been tweeted nearly 3,000 times in the last two days.

This is definitely not the first time that the 4chan /b/ board has done something like this – around this time last year, /b/boards created #CuttingForBieber – a social media campaign encouraging “true” fans of Justin Bieber to self-harm in response to photos of the singer smoking pot.

As a media hoax, it’s kind of working – this morning, The Daily Mail posted about it, and Cassey Ho, a popular fitness blogger, fell for it last night on Twitter:

Because the disturbing thing about the bikini bridge is, as far as body-hating obsessions go, it seems completely plausible, says health blogger Katie Lowe.  

“Trouble is, hoax or not – putting the phrase into common use is damaging,” because many people who come across it won’t realize it’s not real, Lowe said on Twitter. Even if the “bikini bridge” is a hoax, we should probably burn the thing down. Just to be safe.

bikini bridge hoax
Stop the nonsense: the "bikini bridge" is a giant joke the Internet is playing on you. (In the lower right corner, there's a screengrab of 4chan users plotting the prank.)Today