Is the #ChallengeAccepted trend simply a Miss Instagram pageant or something more? | Nadine von Cohen

Guardian Technology 29 Jul 2020 11:16
‘Where’s the challenge?’ writes Nadine Cohen. ‘It would surely be a greater challenge to half of Instagram to not post a selfie for a day.’ Photograph: Dougal Waters/Getty Images

In 2020, as a global pandemic enters its eighth deadly month, Black Lives Matter protests continue across the world and the US presidential campaign nobody wants ramps up, cutting through the noise of social media with a campaign is near impossible.

So it was with incredulity that this Tuesday past I watched as a rapidly increasing number of women on my Instagram feed posted beautiful photos of themselves. Of course, hot selfies are the bricks upon which the house of Instagram is built, so this alone wouldn’t have piqued my interest.

But these were different. These stood out. They were all black and white, they were all aggressively artful and they almost universally opened with #ChallengeAccepted. Each woman acknowledged having been “challenged” by another woman and subsequently nominated 10 more. Most praised “strong women”, exalted empowerment and ended with #WomenSupportingWomen.

These weren’t just random selfies. This was a movement. But for what?

Even if it started or borrowed from something more substantial, the campaign, as it swept across social media, seemed to be the most banal of performative western pseudo-feminism. But the tide appears to be somewhat turning, at least in small, positive waves.

Initially, the #ChallengeAccepted posts on my feed were all by white women – white friends, white peers, white celebrities and white influencers – and cis heterosexual white women at that. And while I expected it to remain as such, this is far from the case. As the number of posts approaches eight million, thousands of Indigenous Australian women, Black women, WOC, trans women, non-binary women and other LGBTQI+ women around the world are taking part.

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