Unusual poses have been big among young Chinese women over social networks recently. Late last month there was the “touch your belly button with one hand wrapped behind your back” fad. Anyone who could achieve this feat was said to have “good style”. Around the same time there was also the “put as many coins into that little divot in your collar bone” trend.

Now it appears a classic yoga pose is making the rounds. It’s called the Pashchima Namaskarasana or Reverse Prayer Pose. However, on China’s microblogging site Weibo, it’s done with the added challenge of raising your hands as high as they can go; the higher your hands can get the more beautiful you are purported to be.

What, you thought “beauty” was a measure of how others judged your outward appearance and to a lesser extent your personality? No, silly, it’s all about how well you can bend your arms behind your back…

The rules to this game are simple: by bending your arms behind your back you must make your palms touch. To assure that your palms are sufficiently together you must hold your smartphone pressed between them. Since you’ll likely be indisposed, you should ask someone else to take your photo. Then compare how high your arms are to this handy diagram.

The steps are, from top to bottom: Beyond Goddess, Goddess, Girl Next Door, Female Diaosi, and the final level is hard to translate but refers to a woman well suited to building a new addition to your house or beating up bullies for you. “Diaosi” is an unclearly defined social class in China somewhere around the lower middle class. Website That’s equates it to the American term “redneck” in that it can be both a term of pride and ridicule.

You might wonder how these classifications came to be. Well, they have been tirelessly peer-reviewed by thousands upon thousands of Chinese teens, and they have deemed the theory “proven, no backsies.”

Our own writer Anji Tabata gave the Reverse Prayer Pose a try, but knowing she had flexible shoulders wasn’t worried about her results.

© Pouch

Sadly, since she had to use her smartphone to take the picture, she couldn’t clasp it between her palms. This renders her “Beyond Goddess” status invalid. Sorry, Anji, those are the breaks!

I also gave it a go, but a sudden and intense pain shot through my chest, shoulders, and upper arms before I got them even halfway behind me. Going by the chart above, that must mean I’m super-ultra-masculine, which really comes as no surprise. When the feeling in my right arm returns I will raise it in triumph.

This poor guy, however…

Hope he has a tiara picked out for his Double Beyond Goddess coronation. He does bring up a few good points though. First, its kind of strange how, the more creepy you turn out in your photograph seems to be directly proportional to how gorgeous you are, according to this.

Second, with the definitive measure of your beauty at stake, it might not be surprising for some to resort to Photoshop trickery to achieve Beyond Goddess certification. As such accusations of doctored photos have been rampant online. Most complain about the length of the poser’s arms, but with camera angles it’s pretty hard to say.

It just goes to show you, no matter what obscure way we come up with to measure physical attractiveness, Photoshop is always there to screw with our perceptions.

Original article by Anji Tabata
Photos: Weibo 1, 2, 3, 4 
[ Read in Japanese ]