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If you're confused about the monochrome photos on your feed, here's where they started

If you’re on Instagram right now, your feed is probably filled with black-and-white photos of women with the caption #ChallengeAccepted. Chances are, you don’t really know how the trend started or what it really means. Don’t worry, you’re not alone on this one. 

Celebrities and others are taking to the ’gram to accept the challenge, with women like JLo, Kerry Washington, Eva Longoria, Kristen Bell and many more posting black-and-white pictures of themselves in a display of women’s empowerment. The phrase “challenge accepted” has been used over four million times on Instagram. 

At first glance, it seems like there isn’t much motivation behind the challenge other than to encourage women to share photos of themselves where they are feeling confident. Many of these posts included hashtags such as #womensupportingwomen, tagging other women to continue the challenge. 

Some celebrities have interpreted the challenge as a display of sisterhood. Taraji P. Henson wrote “it is NOT a challenge to love my sisters but a gift and a bond that we have and we should cherish as long as we walk this earth.”

TV writer Camilla Blackett implied  that the campaign is little more than a vehicle for attractive photos. “What is the point of this #ChallengeAccepted thing?” she tweeted on Monday. “Do people not know you can just post a hot selfie for no reason?”

“Selma” director Ava Duvernay addressed this in her post accepting the challenge as well. Posting a monochrome headshot of herself, she said she was “pretty sure this is just a cool excuse to post pix.”

Critics have called the challenge an empty gesture that serves only to clog up social media feeds while there are protests against racism and the world is facing a global pandemic.

“Ladies,” writer Alana Levinson tweeted, “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?” 

Some women have spoken out, defending themselves against the backlash they are receiving for posting these photos. 

However, amidst the social media frenzy to hop on the latest trend, the origins of this particular challenge have been unfortunately drowned out. The reality is actually more somber than you may think. 

Instagram user @beelzeboobz revealed that the challenge actually originated in Turkey, so as to raise awareness about the high rates of femicide in the country. “Turkish people wake up every day to see a black and white photo of a woman who has been murdered on their Instagram feed, on their newspapers, on their TV screens,” says the post. “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.”

Actress Sarah Hyland chose to use the challenge to spread awareness about this, posting information about its origins. The caption read “I now know there are many challenges that include women posting B&W pictures to support women’s rights.” 

Hyland continued saying “One origin, however, hasn’t been talked about as much, and that is the tragedy of the #femicide occurring in Turkey.” She also encouraged users to follow @auturkishclub to learn more about what is happening to Turkish Women. 

What do you make of all of this? Will you be participating in #challengeaccepted now that you know the whole story? Sound off in the comments and let us know!