Social Media Challenges

Over the past weeks, 3 friends sent a direct message on Instagram for the trend “Challenge accepted”, which encourages women to post a black- and- white selfie, followed by writing challenge accepted, tagging the person who sent it, choosing other women for the same challenge, and using the hashtag #womenempoweringwomen and #ChallengeAccepted.

To be sincere I didn’t do it, because I suck to do social media challenges. This is not the first time I rejected to do it. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19, a lot of challenges are circulating on social media. I am not against any of them but I just don’t like them. I admire all my friends and women who take their time for these challenges that have a strong supporting message.

According to an Instagram spokesperson, the trend is “meant to celebrate strength, spread love, and remind all women that supporting each other is everything.”

Do you know where this trend originated?  

Many discussions are circulating about its beginning. Some say it isn’t new, because in 2016, the same slogan and type of photos were used for a cancer awareness campaign. 

A second, possible origin can be traced back to Brazilian journalist, Ana Paula Padräo who took a black-and-white picture and used the same hashtag last July before the trend started. 

The third theory is that it started in Turkey to combat the high rates of femicide in the country and to be connected to other women. This was confirmed by a woman who talked to Tariro Mzezewa a travel reporter, who quoted it on her twitter. 

According to an article on the Independent, Mzezewa said: “the original accompanying hashtags were #kadınaşiddetehayır and #istanbulsözleşmesiyaşatır, which I’m told translate to say no to violence against women and enforce the Istanbul Treaty/ Doctrine (where rights to protect women are signed.).”

The black and white photo stands for our solidarity for women we had lost, cause of gender violence. Tomorrow, it can be yours or my photo on the news outlets with a black and white filter. 

Remember that according, to the Global Study on Homicide, 2019: Gender-related killing of women and girls research published in July by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2017, a total of 87,000 women were killed intentionally from which, 50,000 were killed by an intimate partner or relative, meaning that 137 women were killed daily by a family member.

Viral and critics

Since the challenge originated, millions of women, celebrities, and influencers, are joining and keeping the chain to continue, for example, Gabriela Union, Kerry Washington, Rene Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Tracee Ellis Ross and many others. 

However, many had criticized it, calling it slacktivism and a way to self-promote. But on the other hand, many had argued that it is a well-meaning challenge. This debate is similar to the one that occurred last June for trend #BlackoutTuesday, which was a link to the protest of Black lives matter.

As an activist, journalist, and feminists, I like to hit the street and protest, write articles, post on social media, or comment on friend’s posts. However, I know that not all of us have the same motivation. I have friends that do online activism’, performance, music, theatre, poetry etc. which are, as well, ways to be an activist.

Whatever way you used to do your activism do it from your heart and for the cause, not for your benefit and self-promotion. We, as women, need to continue moving this wheel that was started by our grandmothers and would be continued by our daughters, sisters, nieces, and others. 

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