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Explained: Why women are sharing black-and-white photos of themselves on social media

Some claim the challenge started in Turkey, where the campaign is associated with raising awareness about femicide in the country.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 1, 2020 11:30:45 am
Black and white challenge, what is the Black and white photo challenge, why are women posting Black and white photos, Black and white challenge Bollywood celebrities, priyanka Gandhi Black and white challenge, turkey femicide, indian express, express explained Hollywood actor Susan Sarandon used the challenge to raise awareness about African American Breonna Taylor, who was shot dead by Louisville Metro Department police officers in March this year. (Photo: Twitter/ @SusanSarandon)

Over the past few days, women, including celebrities, have been posting black-and-white images of themselves on Instagram and other social media platforms as a sign of women’s empowerment. These images are accompanied by the caption #challengeaccepted, and is a part of a campaign called “women supporting women”.

What is this campaign?

As of today, there are more than 53,00,000 images on Instagram under the hashtag, “challenge accepted”. Women part of this campaign are supposed to post a black-and-white photograph of themselves and nominate other women to do the same.

Celebrities including American film director Ava Duvernay took the challenge. Duvernay posted a black and white image of herself on Instagram with the caption, “Pretty sure this is a just a cool excuse to post pix, but I’m gonna always roll with whatever @janineshermanbarrios and @thevioletnelson ask me to do no matter what – so here goes! Challenge accepted. #womensupportingwomen….”.

Model Cindy Crawford also posted a photo as part of the challenge on Monday and said on Instagram, “Love this simple way to lift each other up. #challengeaccepted. Thank you for nominating me @vanessabryant”.


View this post on Instagram


#ChallengeAccepted 💜 Thank you @anaitashroffadajania, @freddy_birdy, @katrinakaif and @banij for nominating me. It takes a lot more effort, strength, perseverance, wisdom, knowledge, patience & grit for us to navigate life as the world has always been skewed against us. No one knows this better than us. Standing together in solidarity and not falling for the trap that is constantly laid down for us is our victory. A trap that makes us compare & judge one another. Competing forever in the wrong race. Truthfully see how many times we might have fallen to this trap. The world wants us to be in this lower state of mind as it benefits from our lack of self-esteem. In reality we are all unique and individually brilliant. Resilient and resolute. The success of one woman will only benefit many others. It will lay the foundation for little girls to aspire to be their true expression not what is laid out for them. To all the women who have inspired me, I bow down to your grace and strength that has lifted me when I needed it and to the ones who tried to push me down, I know this world can be harsh & that you were struggling with yourself and I love you just the same ❤️ Nominating @shraddhakapoor, @mspunvanity, @kanikakarvinkop, @alliaalrufai, @cloverwootton, @tripti_dimri & @eefa_shrof. 📸- Tarun Vishwa

A post shared by AnushkaSharma1588 (@anushkasharma) on Jul 28, 2020 at 10:29pm PDT

From India, actress Anushka Sharma and politician Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also participated in the challenge. Vadra posted a photograph of herself with her daughter and mother on the social media on Wednesday with the caption, “Nothing can be braver, nothing can be stronger, nothing more fun than#womensupportingwomen

Also read | Explained: What is the #FreeBritney campaign?

How did it start?

According to a report in The New York Times, the earliest photograph associated with this challenge was posted over a week and a half ago by Brazilian journalist Ana Paula Padrao. As more women started posting such images, the trend caught on and gained momentum with celebrity figures such as Jennifer Garner, Eva Longoria and Kristen Bell joining in.

On the other hand, there are those that claim that the challenge started in Turkey, where the campaign is associated with raising awareness about femicide in the country. One Instagram user who is a part of the challenge posted on the app, “It wasn’t until today that someone explained to me the origin of #challengeaccepted. That women in Turkey are getting frustrated over seeing b&w photos of murdered women in the media almost every day, and by posting b&w photos of themselves, it makes the point that anyone of us could be next…”.

There is also speculation that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s recent speech in the House of Representatives, in which she called out Representative Ted Yoho for making sexist remarks against her, might have led to an increase in social media posts emphasising female empowerment.

Critics of the challenge, however, have called the campaign as supporting a “vague cause” and users from Turkey have called out people for participating in the challenge “without knowing its meaning”, causing many to misrepresent its purpose.

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There are others who have initiated a different take on the challenge by incorporating racial injustice. Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon, for instance, partook in the challenge to raise awareness about African American Breonna Taylor who was shot dead by Louisville Metro Department police officers in March this year.

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