“Problem recognized,” they wrote — feminine Instagram users across the earth, flooding the picture-sharing app with black-and-white photographs. Jointly they shaped a grid of thousands and thousands of journal-fashion captures of celebs, spur-of-the-instant selfies and filtered snaps from weddings or other exclusive events. The official goal: a exhibit of assist for other ladies.

An accompanying hashtag, #WomenSupportingWomen, usually was the only sign of the campaign’s intent, along with friends’ Instagram handles to stimulate participation. And some users speedily commenced to question: What is the point?

To some observers of social media activism, #ChallengeAccepted represents a obvious case in point of “slacktivism” — strategies dependent on social platforms that have to have minimal energy of members. You can find no donation asked for, no volunteer shift expected, just a several minutes to article a concept or graphic that men and women are not likely to battle in excess of.

They say picture-driven strategies can develop into a strong thrust for social modify. But they truly feel this latest energy so much lacks a concrete goal.

six million posts on Instagram

“Productive selfie protests produced what is invisible noticeable,” explained Mona Kasra, an assistant professor of electronic media style and design at the College of Virginia. “They are helpful when they shift general public perception, when they make a counterculture, when they resist, when they assert a position on line.”

By Thursday, additional than six million Instagram posts had made use of the ChallengeAccepted hashtag. Some others just integrated the phrase “problem recognized” in their article, earning it tough to rely complete participation.

Some members praised the posts as a straightforward way for ladies to assist 1 a different — 1 that comes days soon after U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s passionate speech on the Home ground calling out sexist lifestyle.

Tara Abrahams was 1 woman who joined the thousands and thousands of other people posting under the hashtag soon after a buddy invited her to share. She selected a shot of herself smiling, her darkish hair streaming across the sq. body. Just before posting it, the philanthropic adviser from New York included a caption encouraging men and women to look at their voter registration position and make a prepare to vote in November.

“I just retained smiling because I observed these pretty inspiring ladies flood my feed,” explained Abrahams, who also chairs a non-revenue targeted on girls’ access to schooling in eleven other nations. “I know that there are genuine ladies performing the genuine perform. Instagram can be wherever the activism begins, but it truly is not wherever it ends.”

#ChallengeAccepted and #BlackoutTuesday

Some researchers are inspired by the discussion. They consider it a sign that anticipations for social media conversation have been honed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and big demonstrations demanding modify in U.S. policing subsequent the deaths of George Floyd and other Black Individuals.

Concerns about this latest picture problem also mirror response to the #BlackoutTuesday thrust in early June, stemming from an energy in just the tunes industry to halt normal operations for a day.

Then, general public interest targeted on social media, wherever users posted all-black photographs on their Fb or Instagram accounts as a exhibit of assist for the Black Lives Subject motion. Some posters backtracked soon after activists criticized the action, indicating it was drowning out current substance by now posted by Black users.

The dialogue about #ChallengeAccepted is even further challenging by queries about its origin. Some social media users have tied it to ongoing perform to increase consciousness of ladies killed by their male associates in Turkey. But that backlink is tough to trace definitively.

An Instagram spokesman explained posts in Turkey about violence towards ladies day to the start of July, even though the black-and-white esthetic and accompanying WomenSupportingWomen hashtag that flooded the picture-sharing app this 7 days first confirmed up in mid-July between users in Brazil in advance of spreading to the United States.

Stephanie Vie, an affiliate dean at the College of Hawai’i at Manoa, explained monitoring the origins and adjustments in social media strategies across nations and cultures is a consistent struggle for researchers who review memes and other electronic conversation.

Digital activism vs. slacktivism

Alternatively than “slacktivism,” Vie prefers the umbrella time period “electronic activism” — because, she states, demonstrates of assist on social media can indeed be meaningful.

“Would I like #ChallengeAccepted to have additional of an activist bent? Absolutely,” Vie explained. “Do I want to say men and women are performing it absolutely mistaken and they shouldn’t hassle posting? No, because you have to start someplace.”

Activists who perform on women’s rights internationally say they are inspired by any energy to spotlight the trigger. But they suggested this latest thrust would have additional influence if members went over and above a picture posting — most likely by encouraging assist for an group working on women’s rights.

“It truly is strong, but it truly is also helpful to see an action piece, like what am I fighting for?” explained Rosalyn Park, director of the Women’s Human Legal rights Software. “I would really like to see men and women leverage that trending electricity and that momentum to truly go 1 phase even further.”

Guidance for a broader goal 

Nonetheless just speaking about the way electronic actions perform — or don’t perform — can be a beneficial pursuit.

The existence of any meaningful discussion about a meme marketing campaign targeted on ladies is encouraging, states Katherine DeLuca, an assistant professor of English and conversation at the College of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Participants most likely have very good intentions, she states, but it truly is healthier to consider what else they can do to assist a broader goal.

“Individuals acquiring the time to think critically about what they’re circulating in on line areas is a great position for us to be, in particular likely into an election period,” DeLuca explained.

Right after Abrahams produced her original article, she took items a phase even further the following day by posting a 2nd graphic: a black-and-white drawing of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman fatally shot by police in March during a drug investigation. Abrahams integrated a backlink to a petition demanding expenses towards officers involved.

The warrant to lookup Taylor’s residence was in relationship with a suspect who did not are living there and no medicines were being identified, earning her dying a regular aim of protesters in the U.S. this yr. And with that #ChallengeAccepted adhere to-up, Abrahams tried to join a thing prevalent and unspecific to a thing that, for her, was targeted and necessary.

“It truly is Alright to maintain room for pleasure and for fun and for supporting 1 a different,” Abrahams explained. “It truly is Alright to have all of these items as lengthy as you can find genuine perform.”