Behavioural scientist Dr Pragya Agarwal. Picture: @drpragyaagarwal/Instagram
Behavioural scientist Dr Pragya Agarwal. Picture: @drpragyaagarwal/Instagram

Before you say ’challenge accepted’, here’s the real story behind the Black and White Challenge

By Lifestyle Reporter Time of article published Jul 30, 2020

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Online challenges are nothing new to the internet. Almost every day a trend goes viral with many people getting caught up in the craziness of it all.

One such trend is the Black and White Challenge. If you’re a woman, you’ve probably been getting requests from friends in your DMs saying “Post a photo in black and white alone, write ‘challenge accepted’ and mention my name. Identify 50 women to do the same, in private,” or something to that effect.

It’s a beautiful gesture seen as a call to action for women to support and celebrate each other.

The challenge has seen many incarnations over the years. What originally started as a campaign for cancer awareness, has proliferated into something else.

But the origins of this new challenge present a more complex issue many do not know about.

Anti-racist educator, author and behavioural scientist Dr Pragya Agarwal posted a lengthy explanation of the challenge on her Instagram page, telling her followers exactly how it originated.

“Black and white selfies. It isn’t just a game of hot or not. Or an exercise in vanity. It is not just a mindless challenge that women are undertaking to post their sexiest snaps. These are some of the criticisms that this #challenge has faced,” wrote the author.

“It is a very serious gesture of defiance in support of the Turkish Women,” she goes on to say.

Turkey has one of the highest femicide rates in the world. Unfortunately, this is something not indigenous to the country - South Africans know all too well about the fight against gender based violence.

Agarwal also mentions Pinar Gultekin, whose death sparked an outcry from women in the country. The 27-year-old university student’s body was found in the Aegean district of Mugla last week. She had been missing since 16 July after stepping out of her flat. Police managed to track her movements via CCTV which led to an arrest.

“This is show of solidarity to say that we stand together, we are unafraid, we are fed up of the lack of accountability for the perpetrators,” she added.

Read Agarwal’s full explanation below:

View this post on Instagram

Black and white selfies. It isn’t just a game of hot or not. Or an exercise in vanity. It is not just a mindless challenge that women are undertaking to post their sexiest snaps. These are some of the criticisms that this #challenge has faced. It is a very serious gesture of defiance in support of the Turkish Women (Turkey has one of the highest femicide rate), in support of Pinar Gultekin who was killed in the most violent manner, in support of every woman who has felt threatened and unsafe. This is show of solidarity to say that we stand together, we are unafraid, we are fed up of the lack of accountability for the perpetrators. This was started by Turkish women to say that they are appalled by the Turkish govt decision to withdraw from the Isanbul convention much like Poland. This is to say that no woman stands alone, we deserve to take up space, we are all #womensupportingwomen This is not just performative, this is hopefully not just tokenistic, this is for PINAR GULTEKIN. Say her name!! . (kindly tag me at the top if reposting) . #challengeaccepted . . . #pinargultekin #turkishwomen #westandtogether #domesticviolenceawareness #genderbias #genderinequality #shatterpatriarchy #blackandwhitephoto #selfie #womenempowerment #pınargültekin #empoweringwomen #genderequity #genderequalityforall #nooneisfreeuntileveryoneisfree #feminismisforeverybody #womenofcolor #turkishwomen #womenofcolour #kadinasiddetehayir #istanbulsözleşmesiyaşatır

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