Challenge Accepted?

Once again (or maybe as always), there’s a lot of negativity floating around social media today.

I was aware of the “origins” of the black-and-white photo challenge on Instagram before I got my fourth nomination and decided to go ahead and participate, and I say as much in my caption by highlighting the appropriate cause. I put “origins” in quotations because — although a form of the challenge traces itself to an awareness campaign around femicide in Turkey — it has actually taken many forms since 2016 and no one knows for sure where this particular strain of viral, monochrome activity came from.

But setting all that aside for a moment, let’s pretend it really was just about solidarity with women who inspire you. Before women were made aware of additional context, that’s what it was. Is that so wrong? Seems as good a reason as any to post a selfie!

And yet, the communal backlash was almost immediate, as I suspected it might be. There has been no shortage of #womenshamingwomen for posting a photo that made them feel strong or beautiful, and then nominating other women they admire. Plus, nearly every woman in my network who participated promptly promoted the “right” cause as soon as they were made aware of it.

It seems that even now, in all our attempts to be inclusive and “woke,” it’s still not really okay for a woman to love herself. We learned something new and lifted each other up in the process, and to me, that’s a win.