If you have Instagram, and you follow celebrities, then you probably saw #ChallengeAccepted posts last week. But what is the real meaning behind this trend?
Often posed and filtered, black and white images of women were posted along with the hashtag #ChallengeAccepted or #womensupportingwomen. It quickly became a way to promote female empowerment. In nominating friends to partake, women were given the opportunity to support each other. As of now, there are now more than 6 million posts uploaded to the #ChallengeAccepted on Instagram.
Early comers to the trend included Reese Witherspoon, Eva Longoria, Khloe Kardashian and Jennifer Aniston, who ultimately was the one who posed the question. How and why did the challenge start?
View this post on Instagram
Thank you to all the brilliant and beautiful women in my life who sent the most uplifting messages today. Truth be told, I don’t really understand this #challengeaccepted thing…but who doesn't love good reason to support women! Soooo…. challenge accepted! ⠀ ⠀ And while I have you here, maybe the best way we can support other women is to REGISTER TO VOTE for the issues that affect women. Encourage all your friends, girlfriends, sisters, moms, daughters to do the same. The election is right around the corner, and we need to look out for each other AND love each other! ?????????????????❤️
There are blurred lines when it comes to discussing who started this trend.
Some have suggested social media posts about feminism and female empowerment may have spiked because of a recent video of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaking out against Representative Ted Yoho’s sexist remarks against her.
Speaking to the New York Times, Cristine Abram, a public relations and influencer marketing manager for a social media marketing firm, Later, said:
“That was the spark that led to the resurgence of the hashtag challenge. It’s all to do with female empowerment.”
Others have suggested that it came from raising awareness about protests of femicide, an ongoing issue in Turkey. However, Taylor Lorenz of the New York Times speaks out against this, claiming that the trend did not originate from Turkey.
Seeing this post shared. Again, it is false. The #challengeaccepted thing did not originate w/ Turkish women raising awareness for femicide. IG themselves confirmed this. The challenge has been around since 2016 in various forms. Turkey is just one recent manifestation of it https://t.co/vNEQUSIaP7 pic.twitter.com/Cbzsc3IbRF
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) July 29, 2020
With tracing, it seems the first person who posted the hashtag #womensupportingwomen was a Brazilian journalist, named Ana Paula Padrão on July 17. It then went viral and spread to the U.S., and now worldwide.
According to Instagram, the #ChallengeAccepted trend, is meant to “celebrate strength, spread love, and remind all women that supporting each other is everything.”
However, as fast as the social media challenge spread, so did the backlash and criticism. Many claimed that the posts themselves don’t help in aiding women movement and fighting for the cause.
Some who are not in favour of the social media trend, expressed:
The #challengeaccepted thing is just about girls finding another excuse to post a selfie. That’s abt it.
— Amanda (@AmandaPresto) July 29, 2020
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?
— ????? ℌ??? ???????? (@alanalevinson) July 27, 2020
What is the point of this #ChallengeAccepted thing? Do people not know you can just post a hot selfie for no reason?
— Camilla Blackett (@camillard) July 27, 2020
This is not the first time black and white images have been posted to Instagram in support of a cause. It has been associated with many social media trends, especially in raising awareness around causes. In 2016, spreading awareness of cancer were used with #ChallengeAccepted.
As such, social media can be a powerful tool and platform to raise awareness for issues, just like this #ChallengeAccepted trend. However, do trends like this really create social change?
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