For the past several days, black and white images of women have spread like wildfire on social media. It’s a challenge where women around the world challenge each other to add a black-and-white photo tagged with #challengeaccepted, #womensupportingwomen, and #blackandwhitechallenge. The main purpose of the challenge has been to emphasize women's empowerment and a spirit of encouragement.
Several million users around the world have participated in the challenge on Instagram. However, its origin has been a real mystery. We gathered a few dominant theories from which this most talked about trend of 2020 originated.
According to the strongest view, this was originally a campaign to take a stand on the situation of women in Turkey. In Turkey, homicides against women have increased, and in 2019, an estimated 474 women were murdered. There is a custom in Turkey to publish a black and white image of murdered women in the media, and the idea of the challenge is to show that anyone can be next.
The lawsuit is said to have been ignited when the man brutally murdered his former girlfriend, 27-year-old Turkish student Pinar Gültekin. The last straw was when, at the same time, the Turkish government said it was considering withdrawing from the Istanbul Agreement, which aims to combat violence against women and intimate partner violence.
Women’s rights are often on the news agenda in Turkey, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been criticized for his government not taking violence against women seriously enough.
However, the Challenge accepted topic tag is by no means new. The Guardian and The New York Times point out that a few years ago, black-and-white images were added with the same #challengeaccepted subject tag to raise awareness about cancer.
According to one theory, the challenge is driven by U.S. politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In a video filmed at the U.S. Congress, Ocasio-Cortez responds in his speech to the sexist comments made to him by politician Ted Yoho. Among other things, he says in the video that Yoho barked at him as a “v * tun bitch”. Marketing professional Cristine Abram commented to the New York Times that the viral video gave a boost to the challenge and sparked a movement for feminism and women’s empowerment.
- The video gave a spark to the challenge. People started using a topic tag that was already known and had been used to highlight weighty topics. As a result, the challenge spread quickly, Abram commented to the magazine.
An Instagram representative previously estimated that Brazilian female journalist Ana Paula Padrão, who was the first to use the subject tag #womensupportingwomen in her black-and-white photo, could have started the trend.
No wonder the black and white challenge has changed a lot along the way, as the content of several updates says nothing about the challenge. Many have criticized that this is an ideal situation for influencers and public figures to take part in the challenge without actually taking a stand on the issue. Indeed, the harshest critics argue that this is just an excuse to publish hot selfies about themselves.
- Women, instead of adding hot black and white selfies, why don’t we grab feminism on a low threshold, like leaving a guy who is an exploiter? one of your Tweets.
- What is the point of the whole challenge? Didn’t people know that good-looking selfies can be posted for no reason? the other clicked.
The origin of the challenge remains a mystery for the time being. According to the Instagram representative, at the moment, its main focus is on the empowerment of women and the strengthening of good togetherness - which is also an important theme.
Many Finnish celebrities have also met the challenge and published bold and sensual pictures. For example, former Miss Sara Sieppi, former model and cosmetics entrepreneur Anne Kukkohovi, radio presenter Jenni Alexandrova and ex-Miss Sara Chafak have taken part in the rapture.
Some public figures have subsequently edited and added information about the possible origin of the challenge. One of them is the presenter, Maria Veitola, who apologized for her mistake.
- The original purpose of this challenge is to post a picture of oneself and make it visible that only Turkish women can end up as victims of gender-based intimate partner violence, and why not just any of us. Finland is the second most violent country in the EU for women. And everyone who is ashamed that you did not know the origin of the challenge, no worries. Not everything can be known. I didn't know either. But now I know. We learn all the time! Veitola wrote.
- Thank you super women for the challenge of supporting others. We need each other! EDIT: The challenge originated in Turkey and is reminiscent of violence against women! Jenni Alexandrova updated.
In addition to female celebrities, actress Aku Hirviniemi also took part in the challenge in a playful way as Marja Tyrni. It didn’t take long for one of the followers to critically criticize the actor.
- Challenge äccepted, Hirviniemi wrote in connection with the picture.
- The challenge is violence against women. The subject is really serious and affects many women and families, so throwing such a thing into a joke is at least tasteless, one of his fans sighed.
Later, Hirviniemi added an edit to the text and pointed out, like Veitola, that the origins of the online rapture have really been shrouded in obscurity.
- LATER EDIT: My feed was just filled with black and white selfies, and this was a humorous response to it. The intention was not to offend anyone. I noticed that no one in the update who had posted their own image had a reference to the important background to the challenge. For me, the background of the matter only became clear in the comment field of my own Image. Good if the important thing is made visible through this! Hirviniemi emphasized.