Looks like the #mannequinchallenge is being upstaged by a new social media sensation. Search #dubchallenge on Twitter or Instagram and you’ll find an endless stream of posts by people of all genders and ages, dating back to the summer and even prior. But the challenge has picked up some heavy steam on social media in the past few days thanks to a contribution by musician and living legend Chaka Khan, who has 311,000 followers on Twitter. Now it’s a trending topic and officially a viral craze.
But what is the #dubchallenge — and what does “dub” even stand for? The former is easy to figure out by scrolling through endless side-by-side comparisons and collages posted by people who want to show how drastically they’ve transformed physically over the years. It’s largely a looks-based phenomenon, with most people flaunting their evolution from “ugly duckling” to proud” “swan,” but some are also using the hashtag to highlight their fitness transformations over the years.
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On Nov. 23, Khan chimed in with her own before-and-after: a youthful over-the-shoulder shot next to a stunning, modern-day image of the ultra-glamorous 63-year-old, who has collaborated with the likes of Prince and Whitney Houston throughout her four-decade-plus-long career. (To be honest, she looks radiant in both shots.) The Queen of Funk-Soul captioned her post, “Y’all are so wrong 4 the “dub” in
#dubchallenge but Auntie got something 4 ya!” She seems to know what “dub” stands for in this case, but we — and plenty of other social media users — are still scratching our heads.
— Chaka Khan (@ChakaKhan) November 24, 2016
Inquisitr theorizes that the shorthand could be an abbreviation for the letter W, but the only connection we can make there would be a reference to the URL prefix “www” — meaning it’s a Web challenge. But that’s too general. The site also posits that “dub” could stand for a 20-dollar bill, or simply an abbreviation for double, but that’s still not entirely clear. Could it mean we’re doing a double take at the shocking transformations?
Bossip says, “Well, basically it’s just people putting their old pics up and showing how they have turned into dimes … or dubs. It’s quite simple.” According to Urban Dictionary, a “dime” means “an attractive person.” So, yep, that is pretty cut-and-dried.
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On Instagram, though, one commenter suggests that dub stands for the number 20, and the challenge is meant to show how beautiful/fit/changed someone has become by the age of 20. The user writes, “really it’s for when you [were] young and when you turn 20 … thats why it’s irritating cuz all my friends [are] doing it like [they’re] grown.”
Though mostly young people are participating in the challenge, we’re guessing people of all ages are using the hashtag as an excuse to show off the faces and physiques they’re proud of. Inquisitr notes that one young woman seems to be “winning” the challenge, with more than 70,000 likes for her montage of shots that show her growing from a child to a fit, glam adult. We have to admit, although she was a cutie as a kid, her metamorphosis is pretty darn impressive.
— 2% (@DGAFDanielle) November 23, 2016
It’s hard to figure out the genesis of these viral challenges — by the time you notice them, they’ve spread everywhere like, well, a virus — but often they’re fun for however long they last. With copious online beauty tutorials, people are more skilled than ever at transforming their faces with makeup. So, while it’s fun to see a dramatic facial shift, like this one:
— katherine (@katie_cordero) November 27, 2016
Other, image-confident #dubchallenge contributions are particularly impressive. Some show healthy weight loss, like this empowered tweeter:
— Thea (@theadeguzman) November 27, 2016
Trans people are chiming in to proudly chronicle their transitions, with one making a reference to “Glo Up,” another recent beauty-based social media challenge.
— xavier!!! on ice (@transboyxav) November 27, 2016
— cam (@cameronxrusso) November 24, 2016
Some show the wonders of puberty.
— K✨ (@kaylyn1499) November 27, 2016
— HALSEY UPDATES (@halsey17news) November 24, 2016
Even the guys are getting in on it, showing off (ever so humbly) the fruits of their fitness labor.
— Jake Fetty (@FettyGainz) November 26, 2016
— Kaleb Mitchell (@kalebmitchell97) November 24, 2016
The buddy-system Dub Challenges are especially cute.
— sami (@stylewithsamira) November 24, 2016
And a few brave souls are chronicling a different kind of healthy transformation.
— Molly???? (@_molly_b_) November 24, 2016
— michael (@souljaboysdad) November 24, 2016
The “Dub Challenge” means many different things to many different people, but the common thread seems to be that it’s empowering, and when is that a bad thing? This Twitter user sums up our feelings on the beauty-centric trend, whether it’s #dubchallenge or #gloup:
Makeup is a glo
Beard is a glo
Natural hair is a glo
Weight loss/gain is a glo
Transitioning is a glo
Self love is a glo
— Zach Black (@TiredBlackBoy) November 26, 2016