Whether it’s speedy hand gestures, 10-year throwback pics, ridiculous fashion statements or quarantine bingo – Instagram has become a hotbed for trending ‘challenges’ in the last few years. Over the past week, however, a new one has popped up – but instead of using it to rack up followers, female Instagram users are posting black-and-white selfies to empower other women.
It’s all part of the the ‘Challenge Accepted’ Instagram movement that’s encouraging women to post confident black-and-white selfies under the hashtag #womenempoweringwomen and nominate others to share their own.
The hashtag, which is now housing over 7.7M posts, has gained support from the likes of Gabrielle Union, Kristen Bell, Jennifer Lopez, Amy Adams, Jennifer Aniston, Demi Moore, Khloe Kardashian, Naomi Watts and more – each with their own spin on the caption.
Actor Taraji P. Henson shared her selfie, captioning it, “it is a 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.”
Despite the empowering undertone of the Instagram ‘challenge’, it has also attracted criticism from social media users who view it as an ‘empty gesture’ amidst the global pandemic and protests against racism. Hear about how you can help Black Lives Matter protests below:
However, other reports suggest the hashtag originated from a campaign in Turkey inspired by violence against women and the shocking murder of a 27-year-old student named Pinar Gültekin.
Some high profile Instagram users have used their nominations to push for racial justice, including Padma Lakshmi, who – along with her own black-and-white selfie – shared images of four Black women killed in acts of police brutality.
If anything, the power of these hashtags – whether they encourage true advocacy and change or not – should empower everyone to use their social media platforms for good, but to also keep driving attention to the issues that matter the most.
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