Over the course of a week, Instagram timelines have been flooded with monochrome images and flowery prose, all in an attempt at feminine solidarity and creative resolve.

 A new challenge makes the rounds like every other month and so this new entrant wouldn’t have made much of an impression, except that in just the few days since it was introduced, it has been as highly contested as it has been actively celebrated. 

 The challenge, aptly named Women Supporting Women Challenge gained considerable steam and achieved the much-coveted viral status in just days. 

With a format more simplistic than challenges have been known to be, the challenge is female-based and features the posting of a black and white selfie of yourself with a message celebrating female solidarity, alongside a challenge to some other female of your choice to do the same to keep the chain going. The accompanying hashgtags for the challenge include #ChallengeAccepted #WomenSupportingWomen #BlackAndWhiteChallenge

At face value, the #ChallengeAccepted holds no visible depth and so has been purported to be self serving and bland, but another school of thought finds it a little less offensive, expounding its celebratory intent and support of the female enterprise.

Investigative attempts into the origin of the challenge have propounded several interesting theories, with the most likely being that it was kick started somewhere in Turkey. The story goes that everyday women in Turkey would wake up to news of the death of their fellow women, accompanied by a monochrome image of the deceased in the media; the deaths were as a result of domestic violence and other gender-based attacks. As a result, the women started the challenge in protest of the injustice, by putting up black and white images to signify that no one was safe and that the next monochrome image in the news could very well be anyone of them. 

As expected the hashtags were a little different and more insightful, but as the challenge gained prominence in the days that followed, it took a more artificial form and ended up as a support system for women generally.

The challenge has been condemned from all quarters by a wide range of people of both genders, many of whom have maintained that supporting women cannot be narrowed down to colorless images on social accounts and regal poses.

Popular radio personality, N6, went on a rant about the validity of the women supporting women challenge when he said,

“Ladies if you want a challenge where women actually support women, let every woman pick the business page of another lady who is not her friend and repost on her main IG page. This challenge is a bigger joke than the one where y’all left a WHOLE INSTAGRAM page black for no reason.”

That is only one perspective and it can be argued that it is even a masculine one and subject to bias, but as harsh as it may sound, there are subtle points to take to heart.  As noble as the challenge may seem, the posting of awesome B & W images does not in any way count as support when there’s no mention of who and how you gave the said support. It feels too convenient and carefully cultured not to offend because if the challenge involved mentioning how you actually gave support to a fellow woman, we probably might have fewer posts.

Probably.

But that doesn’t take from it in any way because larger enterprises are built off smaller frameworks and if small attempts at connecting and showing feminine solidarity are shunned, there’s the chance that no one will be interested in creating bigger ones.

This article was written by Henri ‘Yireconnect on Instagram with him here


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