What the #ChallengeAccepted Hashtag in Instagram Means

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If you’ve been browsing Instagram lately, you might have noticed that more and more women are posting black-and-white selfies with the caption #ChallengeAccepted.

Image: Giphy

And you’re probably wondering why this is so too.

I mean, that’s why you decided to read this article, right?

According to USA Today, this is a new Instagram activist trend in which women are promoting the message of female empowerment.

And this is also why you would probably see something along the lines of “women supporting women” in the caption.

Many women who have taken part in the challenge have also tagged other women and encouraged them to do the same. Through the nomination of their friends, they are, in a way, supporting other women.

An Instagram representative shared, “The trend is still picking up with usage of the hashtag on Instagram doubling the last day alone. Based on the posts, we’re seeing that most of the participants are posting with notes relating to strength and support for their communities.”

Other than typing #ChallengeAccepted in their captions, many women have also included #womensupportingwomen in their posts.

Celebrities Jumping On The Bandwagon

Many celebrities like Khloe Kardashian, Kerry Washinton, Jennifer Garner, Kristen Bell, and Eva Longoria have also helped to spread the awareness of the challenge after participating in it themselves.

How Did This Challenge Start?

Cristine Abram, a public relations and influencer marketing manager for Later, a social media marketing firm, shared that there was a sudden influx of social media posts about feminism and female empowerment after a video of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaking out against Representative Ted Yoho’s sexist remarks against her on the floor of Congress was uploaded.

Ms Abram believes that this influx could have resulted in this challenge being created.

She said, “That was the spark that led to the resurgence of the hashtag challenge. It’s all to do with female empowerment. There was this hashtag that already existed to raise awareness around other large issues. Tapping into that allowed participants to gain traction a lot faster because the algorithm was already familiar with the hashtag.”


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An Instagram representative tried to find who started the challenge, and the earliest post they could find was posted about a week and a half ago by the Brazilian journalist Ana Paula Padrão.

However, it was also noted that women in Turkey first started sharing black-and-white photos in order to increase the awareness of femicide, which is the intentional killing of females just because they’re females.

Previously, we were all sharing black-and-white photos as a way to protest and show support for Black people.

The current black-and-white selfies allow women to feel as if they’re taking a stand without saying much.

As of now, there are 5.1 million posts under #ChallengeAccepted.

Is There Really A Point?

However, while there are supporters of this trend, there are also people who don’t believe that there’s any point in it.


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A writer by the name, Alana Levinson, tweeted, “Ladies, 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?”

Podcast host Ali Segel critiqued the trend and ended up getting attacked as well. She tweeted, “Currently getting hate mail on Instagram from complete strangers because I said black-and-white selfies aren’t a cause. Apparently I hate women and don’t love myself!!!!!! I’m minding my own business for the rest of my life!!!!!!”

She then went on to explain, “I think that if this ‘movement’ featured trans women or differently-abled women, or showcased female businesses or accomplishments or women in history, it would make more sense. But the idea of this as a challenge or cause is really lost on me.”


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Brooke Hammerling, the founder of the New New Thing, an advisory to technology CEOs, asked if the trend was even efficient in advocating for a cause through her weekly pop culture newsletter.

She said, “I just don’t know what it stands for. Virtually everyone in my life has done the challenge, a lot of my friends and a lot of people I love. I’m 100 percent for women supporting women and I’m grateful to the women who nominated me, but I don’t understand how a black-and-white vanity selfie does that. If we could do portraits of the women who inspired us, that would be a little bit more in line with what this is trying to accomplish.”

Other women said that instead of just sharing a black-and-white selfie, women should be sharing photos of books, articles, products and charities that benefit women.

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