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What Is This “Challenge Accepted” Black and White Selfie Thing?

Steve Rogers in Avengers: Endgame.

Did Avengers: Endgame start this “Challenge Accepted” thing that’s been rolling around on the internet? Where did all these black and white images come from and why? Does anyone have the answer? Well, it’s a bit complicated, but also shows that there’s a difference between amplifying a message and just jumping on a trend.

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I joined in with the black & white selfie trend last night because I wanted to share a selfie and have my friends feel empowered to do so. But then the more I looked into this “Challenge Accepted” trend, I realized that it wasn’t just a “challenge” to get your friends to share pictures of themselves but more like something that was taken from a great cause and turned into a viral meme.

It has been talked about as something that was just started to post pretty pictures of ourselves, which—look, that’s not a bad thing, but it isn’t really a “challenge.” It was clear that the “challenge” part of this was from an entirely different cause because, otherwise, what is this “challenge” doing other than having us share pictures of ourselves?

Some believe it was taken from women in Turkey who were doing it to spread awareness of the femicide happening and how they were tired of the constant black and white pictures of women who had been killed, but that the message was lost along the way.

The New York Times did a deeper dive into why it was happening and why so many were mad, including podcast host Ali Segel, who shared with the NYT in a Twitter DM why she had a problem with the “movement”:

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.

What this entire “challenge” puts on display is how easy it is for the real, important point of something to get lost in the process of everyone jumping on the bandwagon. Sure, all trends don’t have this deep of a meaning, but with stuff like this, where there was clearly a deeper meaning, we should probably understand why that is.

So, whether it was taken away from the movement in Turkey or started as some other kind of “challenge,” it’s important to look at why these things originate and what we can do with a viral trend.

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh.

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