The Mannequin Challenge: The internet’s newest three-week trend

By Zack Downing, Staff Writer
Since the start of YouTube, internet video trends and challenges have run rampant, bringing a weird structure to the randomness of internet content. From planking on things, to gulping cinnamon, people will participate in anything to shoot for their 15 minutes of fame. This most recent video trend is called the “Mannequin Challenge,” and unless you’ve been avoiding the internet for a couple weeks, you probably know what it is. The Mannequin Challenge is when you gather together a group of people (the more the better) and they all pose to make some kind of scene, such as a fight or a proposal. Everybody stands completely still, and one person takes a camera and films around them. The end product looks pretty cool, like the Matrix, or that scene at the bar in The Other Guys. It’s taken off rather quickly, and there are thousands of videos and Snapchats out there of people standing still in unusual ways. Millennials aren’t the only ones taking part in the Mannequin Challenge. Everybody seems to have their own take on the trend, including Hollywood casts, basketball teams, and even the Obamas. Basketball teams seem to be the first to jump on video trends, curiously. I’m sure Ellen Degeneres will have her own version of it soon. The Cleveland Cavaliers visited the White House and did the challenge with Michelle Obama, in one of the stranger collaborations. As far as I know, the biggest Mannequin Challenge was done by Liberty University with over 6,000 students in a 1 minute and 44 second video that was posted to Facebook earlier this week. Perhaps my favorite was done by Blac Chyna, wherein she and her family made a Mannequin Challenge video in the hospital room right before she gave birth. I’m not sure why Blac Chyna is famous, but at least she’s making good use of her fame. But we’ve seen this sort of thing before, where an internet trend takes off, becomes viral, is done by celebrities, then quietly dies down. Where does the Mannequin Challenge rank among classic trends? The first thing that came to mind when I caught wind of the trend was the Harlem Shake, that trend from a while back where everyone would try to make the craziest dance scene they could. That was almost 4 years ago, to make you all feel old. The Mannequin Challenge is kind of like the opposite of that. Instead of a crazy scene of dancing to obnoxious music, it’s a motionless scene set to any music that fits. Rather than the assault on the senses that the Harlem Shake was, it’s somewhat artistic and soothing. And when you have dozens of people with creative minds, there’s a world of potential for these videos. So all in all, I would definitely say that the Mannequin Challenge is a pretty good addition to the hall of internet trends. It’s not annoying like the Harlem Shake was, and it has a lot of creative potential, unlike the Cinnamon and Ice Bucket challenges. So I welcome this new challenge, especially as a distraction from the world of politics that’s going on now. So, if you’ve got a group of friends and some creativity, make a video before the trend dies out and get moving! Or should I say, don’t get moving…  

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