A black and white selfie
Browsing your feed you must have scrolled through black and white selfies shared by both your friends and the celebrities you follow, captioned with a generic, positive message about female empowerment.
Maybe you have been tagged in this "new challenge" yourself and posted a cute selfie too.
Have you wondered why, though? Where does this challenge come from?
Dr Pragya Agarwal (@drpragyaagarwal) explained that the Instagram challenge was created as a way for women to show their solidarity with women in Turkey, where violence against women is one of the most prevalent in the world. Everyday Turkish people wake up to black and white photos of women in their newspapers, who have been murdered as a result of domestic violence.
The black and white challenge started as a way for women to stand in solidarity with these women that have lost their lives and to raise awareness against women’s abuse, torture and murder.
However, an investigation by New York Times journalist Taylor Lorenz has discovered that in fact, the recent resurgence of this trend did not start from Turkey.
Using data from Instagram and Facebook, Taylor found that, while Turkish women have participated, the recent resurgence of the black and white selfie in the US, UK and Brazil was predominantly ignited by a post by Brazilian journalist Ana Paula Padrão, which was then fuelled by Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s recent speech about sexism which went viral on the internet. This chain of events appears to be how the current photos you are seeing with messages of female empowerment came to be.
Although many people would argue that sharing a selfie is not the best way to scream female empowerment, we also need to admit that pictures of beautiful women are still a great way of engaging the public. Therefore, if your aim is to raise awareness, sharing a selfie with some informative text might be a powerful strategy.
Let's all stand with every woman that has been abused, let's all stand with every black life that has experienced racial discrimination, let's all stand with every Jew that has been experienced Anti-Semitism, let's all stand with every Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang province, let's just all stand together against all the injustices that surround us. Let's work together for a better and fairer world, and if it takes a selfie to start this process, so be it.