The Chin Dancing Trend Proves We Can Still Prioritize Joy When Hitting Back At The Patriarchy

Ozempic and Kybella may be the latest trends in Hollywood, but an entirely different and body positive trend is sweeping TikTok: the chin dance. Unlike many dance memes that originate on the app, this one forgoes the pop and lock and requires no choreography or dance skills. You simply position a camera lens below your face with your chin in view and move your head to the bass of a favorite tune. The most popular installment has over 15 million likes on the social media app, while others have hundreds of thousands of likes and comments. The comment sections are as joyous as the videos, with women adding messages like, "GURL—How is it so beautiful?" and "this made my day!"

The vast majority of videos originate from one Scottish pioneer — Rachel Spicer — and those who have come across her feed and replicated the move. Spicer has gained a sizable 2.2 million followers for sharing videos in a style that bucks #beautytok trends or upends them, such as her comical "Get Ready With Me" videos. She also hosts regular "positivity check-ins" where she shares something good about her week and invites commenters to do the same.

It's not the first time a fun dance trend has promoted a massive body positivity movement. Back in 2020, TikToker Lizzy Khang's video of herself gleefully dancing with her bare stomach became a rallying cry for normalizing un-retouched stomachs, love handles, and stretch marks.

Celebrating chins of all sizes

For many on social media, the chin dancing trend is refreshing to see in the current moment. As frequent TikTok users know, the platform is regularly awash in AI filters that purport to enhance a woman's physical appearance, which often translates to conforming their look to the male gaze and heteronormative styles of beauty. If you need an example, look no further than the Bold Glamour filter, which sharpens your chin, thickens your brows, plumps up your lips, and smooths over any discernible sign of pores. The filter gained fierce criticism in the past few weeks for promoting unrealistic standards of beauty, including from anchor Katie Couric, who compared the filter to a "fembot." 

But it's not just AI filters that are the issue. Despite studies indicating that as many as 70 % of people will eventually develop "submental fullness," as a double chin is medically termed, most videos under the #ChinTok hashtag are tips and tricks to help women hide that part of themselves. Even chin dance creator Spicer admits that she, too, used to hate looking at her chin. Per Mirror UK, she told Jam Press that making the videos helped her to accept her body and let go of people-pleasing tendencies. 

The videos have helped a lot of other women, too."When I started doing regular content and telling people to love your chin, the response was so positive – I started getting comments and emails about helping people with their insecurities," Spicer told the outlet. "I thought it was crazy how a chin could affect so many people's confidence."

Hitting back at the patriarchy with joy

Offline, too, women face social pressure to make themselves thinner, whether through weight loss injections such as Ozempic, which reportedly swept the Oscar season, or Kybella, an injection that is marketed to reduce fat in the chin area. These pressures stem from patriarchal beauty standards that tell women they must look a certain way — thin, feminine, and beautiful to men — to be valued in society. Speaking about these standards in a video, TikToker @Fazolibreadstick says, "We're taught weakness is a feminine virtue because by making ourselves smaller, quieter, and more dainty we are more obedient to men."

The chin dance videos reject this ideal by depicting women loudly and proudly embracing their natural chins in true form. And while the trend might be decidedly silly, it's a reminder that some forms of activism thrive off positivity and joy. "Joy has a propulsive, dance, art, eroticism...," writer Ingrid Fetell Lee says on the aesthetics and political underpinnings of celebratory activism. "All of these fuel an emotional response that creates momentum, one that can be hard to control."  

One small step for chins, one big viral leap in smashing the status quo.