Women Empowerment; The Problems with This Challenge

Scrolling through Instagram, I – amongst many others – have noticed that all the color has drained from our feed. Millions of black and white portraits of women have been flooding the feed for a week, with little information besides vague “#ChallengeAccepted #womensupportingwomen” captions. What does this really mean? Well, to many people, it means nothing without an explanation, which is hard to come by, so I’m here to the rescue! The true cause was meant to be similar to the #BlackoutTuesday movement, with a goal of raising awareness on women empowerment and support. Unfortunately, due to poor execution, it may just be another challenge that will come and go. Despite the fact that there are nearly 4 million posts using this hashtag, with some popular faces, including Kerry WashingtonDemi LovatoMeghan Trainor, and  Natalie Portman, joining the movement, it has been seen as just confusing, or not really supporting anything.

Where did the women empowerment challenge come from?

The origins of this challenge have been murky, but it did gain lots of traction a week ago. Some believe it started from a post by journalist Ana Paula Padrão that went up near the beginning of this challenge. Others link it to feminists trying to stir up support amongst women when U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded to Representative Ted Yoho for calling her a “f$!#!$ Bitch”. But some believe that it is just an excuse to post a good photo while doing the bare minimum, clogging the hashtag feed and minimizing visibility of other causes.

How Can We Do Better?

  1. Fill your feed with people who need representation and support. These include women of color, LGBTQ women, women suffering from systemic racism, women without access to education, and women who need to be heard, and not silenced.
  2. Instead of just a hashtag, include information about your cause, and where to seek petitions or websites to offer support.

Simple shifts in our approach can drive significant impact for the women empowerment movement. Women empowering women is all about stopping the unfair and cruel practices that have been levied against us for generations. We must get out of the way of women who are making changes and put them on our shoulders, so they can make a difference for generations to come.