If you’re on Instagram right now, your feed is probably filled with black-and-white photos of women with the caption #ChallengeAccepted. Chances are, you don’t really know how the trend started or what it really means. Don’t worry, you’re not alone on this one.
Celebrities and others are taking to the ’gram to accept the challenge, with women like JLo, Kerry Washington, Eva Longoria, Kristen Bell and many more posting black-and-white pictures of themselves in a display of women’s empowerment. The phrase “challenge accepted” has been used over four million times on Instagram.
At first glance, it seems like there isn’t much motivation behind the challenge other than to encourage women to share photos of themselves where they are feeling confident. Many of these posts included hashtags such as #womensupportingwomen, tagging other women to continue the challenge.
Some celebrities have interpreted the challenge as a display of sisterhood. Taraji P. Henson wrote “it is NOT a challenge to love my sisters but a gift and a bond that we have and we should cherish as long as we walk this earth.”
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I accept the challenge @moniqueidlett We are all we got. I appreciate my sisters. It is NOT a challenge to love my sisters but a gift and a bond that we have and should cherish as long as we walk this earth. WE WALK THIS EARTH TOGETHER NO MATTER WHAT!!! So honored!!! Thank you to all my sisters! ✊🏾🙏🏾💋💋💋
TV writer Camilla Blackett implied that the campaign is little more than a vehicle for attractive photos. “What is the point of this #ChallengeAccepted thing?” she tweeted on Monday. “Do people not know you can just post a hot selfie for no reason?”
“Selma” director Ava Duvernay addressed this in her post accepting the challenge as well. Posting a monochrome headshot of herself, she said she was “pretty sure this is just a cool excuse to post pix.”
Critics have called the challenge an empty gesture that serves only to clog up social media feeds while there are protests against racism and the world is facing a global pandemic.
“Ladies,” writer Alana Levinson tweeted, “instead of posting that hot black-and-white selfie, why don’t we ease into feminism with something low stakes, like cutting off your friend who’s an abuser?”
Ladies, instead of posting that hot black-and-white selfie, why don’t we ease into feminism with something low stakes, like cutting off your friend who’s an abuser?
— 𝔄𝔩𝔞𝔫𝔞 ℌ𝔬𝔭𝔢 𝔏𝔢𝔳𝔦𝔫𝔰𝔬𝔫 (@alanalevinson) July 27, 2020
Some women have spoken out, defending themselves against the backlash they are receiving for posting these photos.
It felt good and positive to post a picture of myself where I felt pretty. Why don’t you like that my friend encouraged me to do so?
— Karen (@thegoodkaren) July 28, 2020
However, amidst the social media frenzy to hop on the latest trend, the origins of this particular challenge have been unfortunately drowned out. The reality is actually more somber than you may think.
Instagram user @beelzeboobz revealed that the challenge actually originated in Turkey, so as to raise awareness about the high rates of femicide in the country. “Turkish people wake up every day to see a black and white photo of a woman who has been murdered on their Instagram feed, on their newspapers, on their TV screens,” says the post. “The black and white photo challenge started as a way for women to raise their voice. To stand in solidarity with the women we have lost. To show that one day, it could be their picture that is plastered across news outlets with a black and white filter on top.”
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I have received several requests that wanted me to share this as a post as well. So here goes. I hope this will be able to inform people as to what is going on in Turkey and why the black and white photo challenge exists. Thank you all for sharing this information. #blackandwhite #challengeaccepted #womensupportingwomen #mensupportingwomen #istanbulanlaşmasıyaşatır #blackandwhitechallenge #istanbulsözleşmesiyaşatır
Actress Sarah Hyland chose to use the challenge to spread awareness about this, posting information about its origins. The caption read “I now know there are many challenges that include women posting B&W pictures to support women’s rights.”
Hyland continued saying “One origin, however, hasn’t been talked about as much, and that is the tragedy of the #femicide occurring in Turkey.” She also encouraged users to follow @auturkishclub to learn more about what is happening to Turkish Women.
What do you make of all of this? Will you be participating in #challengeaccepted now that you know the whole story? Sound off in the comments and let us know!