• Taylor Fischbeck

Challenge Accepted: vague Instagram challenges don't accomplish much. Let's change that.

Over the past couple of days, users of Instagram have noticed black and white photos with the caption ‘Challenge accepted’. It’s meant as a challenge for women to support other women, help them feel more confident in themselves, and is used as a small way to spread a little positivity in these challenging times. However, these black and white photos are often staged and not natural which defeats the purpose of uplifting women.

Women and others should always support each other and uplift one another but if the photos people are posting are taken by professional photographers and have flattering angles, is it truly supporting women? Staged photos don’t teach women how to accept their flaws and be at peace with their body or features. If anything, it can do the opposite and bring people down, making them feel less important.

A lot of women accepting these challenges are celebrities and all over the world, people wish they looked more like famous people. They want to be perfect. It’s a concept that has plagued this world for years. This effect makes the entire challenge seem useless, especially since there is no clear reasoning for this challenge except for the theory as stated in the New York Times that it’s a stand against femicide.

Regardless of the reason behind this challenge, posting silly selfies such as the ones we take with friends that show our double chins or our cross-eyed looks will do more than posting perfectly staged photos that we see in magazines. People use social media as an outlet to post only the best photos and only the coolest moments but it can be used for a lot more. You can share your flaws and show the world that this is who you are and prove to them that you are proud to be who you are.

It is true that this may open the participants to ridicule but so can the staged photos. Unfortunately, ridicule is a natural part of life and cannot be avoided. But, if we show the world that women and others are okay with their flaws and welcome them with open arms, we can spread a more positive message.

It’s better to be real and authentic than fake and unauthentic. Authenticity allows people to connect with each other on a much deeper level which is something people need and oftentimes want. It’s a part of human nature. Therefore, seeing silly photos or ones that showcase flaws, similar to the ‘until tomorrow’ challenge that occurred earlier in the year, may bring a smile to their viewer’s face and let them--especially women--see that they are not alone.