A TikTok duet chain that five influencers created is being called "the greatest chain of all time" for its body-positive spirit. In each duet, a young woman pulls their pants down to let their natural bellies hang over them.
Multiple women told BuzzFeed News they were filled with "joy" watching the women before them dance, and participating in the trend themselves felt "empowering."
Carolina Gurdian, 27, was the first woman to copy and duet the original video from user @lizzykhang. Gurdian, who has over 190,000 followers on the app, said she was at home scrolling on TikTok last week when she saw @lizzykhang posing and dancing to a mashup of "Captain Hook" and "Side to Side."
"I saw this beautiful girl really enjoying her body and putting out there that she had a little tummy and she was terribly happy with it," said Gurdian.
BuzzFeed News has reached out to @lizzykhang.
Gurdian said the whole duet took about 20 minutes to film and post. Almost immediately after she shared the duet, comments flooded the video.
"The majority of the comments were girls saying, 'This makes me feel normal,' 'You look beautiful and I see myself,' and 'I have the same body and I want to get to the point where I accept myself.'"
Gurdian added that across social media, young girls are being taught to "restrict" their bodies, especially their stomachs, which is arguably the most "normal" place to put on weight.
"We all have a belly, especially in quarantine," she said. "We're normalizing the fact that being midsize or having a belly doesn't mean you're unhealthy. I've never been healthier in my life, and I've never been bigger in my life."
Within days, more and more young people discovered and dueted Gurdian's duet. When 16-year-old Brooklynne Webb from British Columbia joined in, she said she thought the chain of women "looked so happy and positive, and they were being unapologetically themselves."
Webb has 3.2 million followers on TikTok and a little over 83,000 on Instagram. She's a full-time influencer, so she's active on multiple social media platforms, but she feels there's something especially "culture-changing" on TikTok right now.
"On TikTok it's all videos so you can't really photoshop as much. Of course people still show their best sides on TikTok, [but] on Instagram I see more edited images, or the way they pose, there's a specific way you can pose on an angle to make [your body] look a lot better," she said.
So it felt especially "freeing" to let her body simply do its natural thing, and feel emboldened to share that on social media.
Sienna Gomez, 16, who was the last influencer to duet the chain, told BuzzFeed News she felt similarly about the two platforms. She has almost 2 million followers on TikTok and 142,000 on Instagram.
"I love posing on Instagram and being a part of it, but you can edit your pictures, your body, your face, your makeup, everything," said Gomez. "On TikTok, it's a little more real. ... Instead of thinking I need to edit myself, other people get to see who I really am."
Multiple women on the duet chain said the act itself was easy to do, but the most gratifying part was hearing from other people who said 15 seconds helped them accept their bodies as they are.
"I can’t even tell you how many girls have messaged me saying I have an ED [eating disorder] because my body wasn’t portrayed in the media and I wanted to look like that, and I wanted to achieve it by unhealthy mediums," said Gurdian. She's been telling them to learn to be "OK with how you look like, however it presents itself."
"The support is so amazing," said Gomez. "There were a lot of comments saying, 'Thank you so much for posting this; it makes me feel OK wearing low pants and having a tummy.'"