The Black & White Photo Challenge

The Real Story Behind The Black & White Photo Challenge

‘Empowerment’ Selfies Are Burying a Turkish Women’s Rights Campaign

I saw many of my friends sharing black and white photos of themselves as a ‘challenge’ but not knowing the reason or origin behind it…”

I for one also just jumped on the ban-wagon and post a black-and-white-photo without knowing the real reason and story behind it.

The Black & White Photo Challenge
BLOSS Girls support #womenempowerment #womensupportingwomen

In case you don’t know what the heck these black-and-white pictures mean, here’s how it works: a woman who’s been nominated posts a black-and-white pic of herself, then nominates women in her life, ostensibly as a way to show love and support.

If you’ve used Instagram even casually in the last 48 hours, you’ve seen them by now.

Black-and-white selfies of women accompanied by the words “Challenge accepted,” along with the hashtags #womenempowerment and #womensupportingwomen.

The Black & White Photo Challenge
BLOSS Girls support #womenempowerment #womensupportingwomen

“The black and white photo challenge started as a way for women to raise their voice. To stand in solidarity with the women we have lost.

To show that one day, it could be their picture that is plastered across news outlets with a black and white filter on top.”

Social Media & #ChallengeAccepted Movement

As is the case with any social media ‘challenge’, it is difficult to identify a clear genesis.

Where did it come from? And why? When it comes to the #ChallengeAccepted movement, it is also difficult to identify a clear purpose.

On initially encountering these images yesterday—especially with zero context—it was hard for me to understand what the “challenge” was exactly.

I have asked one of my friends, Megan du Preez who have shared more about this to explain it to me.

This morning I took the time to scroll through hundreds of hashtags and tagged photos. And the only thing I felt challenged by was the narrowness of representation on display.

While the sisterhood is lovely and being inspired by the women around us is a heartwarming sentiment, it is not the most pressing battle we ought to be fighting.

Do You Know Who This Woman Is?

The Black & White Photo Challenge
Photo from Instagram repost by @henrydavids19

What is now a light-hearted expression of female solidarity all over the world was original, in Turkey, a campaign inspired by both the soaring rates of violence against women and the brutal murder of a 27-year-old student named Pinar Gültekin.

Protests in the country broke out after Gültekin’s ex-boyfriend led police to her strangled and partially burned body, stashed inside an oil drum.

There’s also been a lot of discussions online about the black and white challenge’s potential Turkish origins, but it’s not clear if the recent surge of photos is directly inspired by that movement or was sparked by something else.

The Black & White Photo ChallengeBLOSS Girls support #womenempowerment #womensupportingwomen

True Fact

The scary truth is that one in three women around the world has experienced physical or sexual violence by a member of their own family every day.

For all we know, the next woman’s name we hear, killed by someone who was meant to love her, will have shared a black and white photo of themselves, with a few hashtags about empowerment.

Beautiful women Of The World… there is nothing wrong with the sisterhood.

But let’s use it to do something more meaningful than nominate each other to share selfies.

Currently, the hashtag #challengeaccepted has been used on Instagram more than 4.5 million times. It’s framed as an international trend of women empowering other women.


Trudi Stander
Trudi Stander

Business Development Manager & Real Life Editor

Trudi Stander, our Business Development Manager and head of our BLOSS Brand ambassador program is a strong woman who faces life with no fear, fights for what she wants, and don’t care what people say about her. She is a businesswoman and entrepreneur with more than 10 years’ experience in the media industry. She believes that every moment we are alive is precious. Treat it as such and don’t waste a single second. Be brave, and don't be afraid to assert your power in the pursuit of your dreams. Set your goals, and accomplish them, but be kind to yourself. Make things happen without permission.

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