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Everything You Need To Know About That Controversial Black And White Selfie Challenge

Do you feel empowered yet?
PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) Instagram/khloekardashian, Instagram/reesewitherspoon

Has your feed also become inundated with black and white glamour shots of various famous (or not) women in the name of empowerment? If you answered yes, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Just kidding, but you might find some solace in knowing that you're not alone if you think this gesture is ultimately hollow despite its best intentions. If you're debating posting a pic, here's why you may want to reconsider:

This past week, countless women have taken to the 'gram with photos of themselves after being tagged in the #challengeaccepted and #womensupportingwomen campaign. (Celebrities like Reese WitherspoonEva LongoriaKhloé KardashianGabrielle Union, and Cindy Crawford have all joined in and tapped other women to participate too, like chain mail.) As New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz put it, most of the captions are "benign," but the cause is "vague."

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Of course there's nothing wrong with women celebrating each other, but according to the NYT and many others on social media, this selfie challenge co-opted very important movements like that of Turkish women who were raising awareness about femicide.

It's also similar to the Instagram challenge aimed at uplifting Black women and men in June when protests relating to George Floyd and Breonna Taylor gained momentum.

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But just like how some used #BlackoutTuesday to simply post a performative black square and fail to share resources or vital information to further the Black Lives Matter movement, this campaign drowns out the important posts it piggybacked off of.

So, instead of posting pictures of yourself, which we can all do literally any time because it is Instagram after all, consider this: Post a photo and a bio of women who inspire you, post and tag women-owned businesses, celebrate trans women and share resources that will help curb the violence systemically carried out against them, post GoFundMes for women in need, or post organizations that are committed to uplifting and supporting women beyond Instagram.


This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.