Hashtags of #challengeaccepted, #womenempoweringwomen and #womensupportingwomen accompanied with a black and white selfie have suddenly flooded social media feeds and timelines throughout the world. Even my own inboxes over all my social media platforms have been inundated with this challenge to post a selfie.
Now don’t get me wrong, I will be the first to say I love a good selfie. Though not a big fan of black and white ones, but I always love a good selfie. When I got these notifications to post a selfie I thought it was just another superficial challenge.
At first, without any knowledge of the background story and going on just the hashtag, I thought what a strange way to empower another woman? By posting a vain picture of myself? How am I empowering anyone and what value would my black and white photo add to such a huge and important fight? But then I thought why not? Why not take a selfie?
I couldn’t think of anything more empowering than a woman who is confident enough to post a black and white photo of herself. I think the reason why we have such a strange love for selfies is that it makes us feel better about ourselves. Yes, some can argue that it is a vain and selfish act, but I think deep down all women, including myself feel that we are sometimes never good enough, that there are things we want change about ourselves. We have an innate fear that there is always someone better, prettier, more intelligent, more attractive, more beautiful…
But a selfie can be almost like looking into a mirror, right? It can make us see ourselves in a new and different light, (no pun intended) A selfie can make you feel better, stronger, more beautiful and can make you look beyond the criticism, the rejection, hurt and pain that comes with being in toxic relationships. So a selfie with this hashtag made sense, right? Wrong.
Here comes the reality check. When I saw the number of women take part in the challenge I started to wonder if there was more to this wave of black and white pictures. So I went in search of the root of the challenge.
I found that the challenge started in Turkey as a way to speak out against gender based violence and femicide. There are many women in Turkey who end up losing their lives to femicide. Many of these killings barely make the headlines. These innocent women are at times reduced to just a black and white photo in the paper or news. Some of these crimes never see any justice. To honor the memories of these Turkish women who have been lost to femicide and in a worldwide show of solidarity, this challenge was started.
So for me, this is not a challenge to make myself feel better about me, but it is my contribution to this cause. I join in solidarity with the women of Turkey, but also to all the women throughout the world who are senselessly losing their lives through femicide. South Africa, we know this fight all too well… so for me it’s a yes, it’s #challengeaccepted