Planking. The Ice Bucket Challenge. The Tide Pod Challenge. Every few months, it seems like a new fad takes over social media. It always follows the same pattern: people around the world take pictures or videos of themselves doing the fad and post them online. In response, even more people get angry about fad and post about how sick they are of it. And then, the world moves on to the next thing, almost as quickly as the fad began.
We regret to inform you that there’s a new social media fad making the rounds, and it might be worse than everything that’s come before it. Introducing: the flaunt your wealth challenge.
Get read to be offended in 3…2…1…
The fad is pretty much what you see above. If you want to participate in the flaunt your wealth challenge, (please don’t), you pose like you just fell out of a car, surrounded by your many expensive possessions. It’s mostly popular on the Chinese social networking site Weibo, but it’s since spread to Instagram. Just like mono!
Now, the first question on your mind after “What the hell is wrong with people?!” is probably along the lines of, “Why on Earth would someone do this.” The trend traces its origins back to another, similar social media fad from August 2018 called the “falling stars” challenge, which used the hashtags #fallingstars and #fallingstars2018
In that trend, which was started by Russian millionaires, people would pose as if they they just fell face-first down the steps of a private jet.
One of life’s great joys is bragging about your wealth, but not everyone has access to a Gulfstream, so not everyone could participate. This is why it morphed into the much more accessible “flaunt your wealth” version. Since making its way to Weibo, the trend has been reproduced by over one million Chinese users.
Most people who do the challenge pose with the typical luxury items you might expect, like pricey clothes and makeup, cars, and exercise equipment.
Observers have noted that this trend coincides with China’s decades-long economic growth–despite rampant inequality, China has seen the rise of a wealthy middle class. The nation also the second-highest number of billionaires in the world at 478.
Even the Chinese government approves of the challenge. People’s Daily, the official newspaper for the Chinese Communist Party, praised the movement as way for people to show pride in their contributions to the economy, writing “If everyone is hardworking at the work at hand, it will be the biggest wealth for the society.”
But not everyone is impressed. Plenty of people have mocked the “rich kids of Weibo” for rubbing their privilege in everyone’s faces. Some have even parodied the trend by flaunting the wealth they don’t have.
And, in a moment of karmic justice, two women even got in trouble for taking a “flaunt your wealth” photo. In the city of Taizhou, a couple would-be viral video stars received traffic fines for attempting to pose with a Gucci bag and other accessories in the middle of a busy street. Another woman in Shanghai was fined for posing like she fell out of her Aston Martin.
That felt pretty good, didn’t it?
But if you’re still bummed out by the “flaunt your wealth challenge,” you can take some consolation in the fact that it won’t be around much longer. Before long there will be a whole new fad to be angry about!
So make sure you check back here soon when we tell you all about the “burning huge piles of cash” challenge.