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Mannequin Challenge: standing still has never been trendier

Internet fads tend to remain fresh for but a few weeks (we’re not talking about those evergreen Joe Biden memes though). The Ice Bucket challenge is a good example, the Harlem Shake perhaps an even better one. But a new trend that’s sweeping the internet’s video platforms is the Mannequin Challenge.

No, this isn’t like Lars and the Real Girl. Instead, it involves people seemingly turning into inanimate mannequins themselves.

This could mean an entire classroom sitting still while the video recorder circles around them, or an entire football team seemingly stuck to the turf.

If you need a previous popular culture example, think Professor X’s abilities in the X-Men movies, or Westworld‘s robots. It’s similar, and undoubtedly somewhat inspired by these, but it’s slowly turning into its own little meme.

The movement of still life

According to Mashable, the fad began in late October 2016, when a Jacksonville, Florida school decided this was more important than learning about quadratic equations. Taking the form of a Harlem Shake video, the student instead froze when they should’ve been, well, shakin’.

Thus, a meme was born.

The Mannequin Challenge was soon picked up by practically every American football team in the NFL and College leagues, because, you know, it’s cool. Beyond the States, German football team Borussia Dortmund also joined in the fun. Hell, even Hillary Clinton and her campaign team had a go.

The Mannequin Challenge began in October 2016, when a bunch of students in Florida published a short clip to Twitter

Other celebrities like Blac Chyna (while giving birth, mind), James Corden, Ellen DeGeneres and some of Destiny’s Child have also joined in the challenge.

The latest video, posted by musician Marshmello, is probably one of the largest we’ve seen, with an entire swathe of the audience joining in at one of his live sets.

Although relatively unknown in South Africa as yet, the likes of eNCA’s news team also created its version of the challenge, rather fittingly depicting the calm within the madness of the newsroom.

The growing trend

As a result of the celebrity weight behind it and the Mannequin Challenge’s popularity on social media, the trend has slowly grew into the new Ice Bucket Challenge. A slew of Twitter accounts have sprung from the dirt. A Mannequin Challenge subreddit — after calling r/gifs home for much of its life — is now a thing too, with just over 20 subscribers.

Meme-incubators like Imgur and 9GAG hve also seen their fair share of Mannequin Challenge posts, although they aren’t always popular with commenters.

A quick Google Search chart also shows the extent of the Mannequin Challenge’s growth spurt in a relatively brief period of time.


Based on its upward trend, it's likely that the Mannequin Challenge will probably be around until the new year. But who will be the next superstar to embrace it? Hopefully, Donald Trump and his cabinet.

Author | Andy Walker: Editor

Andy Walker: Editor
Camper by day, run-and-gunner by night, Andy prefers his toast like his coffee -- dark and crunchy. Specialising in spotting the next big Instagram cat star, Andy also dabbles in smartphone and game reviews over on Gearburn. More