India’s huge demographic makes its audience prone to taking up challenges that they find trending on the Internet. From internationally famous celebrities to Instagram influencers and even your next-door neighbor aunty’s interest in the black and white challenge might have sparked your interest in either participating in it or criticizing its validity. While various intellectual posts that give a few might-be reasons behind this challenge have surfaced on the Internet, especially the one written by our favorite journalist Faye D’sSouza, who construes that it can be traced back either as a method of showing dissent against the atrocities committed towards Turkish women or can be linked as a show of solidarity with Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s powerful speech against a fellow republicans inappropriate comments. The exact rationale cannot be traced, as per social media experts.
Currently, a lopsided portion of the population has a problem with this challenge going viral, and they along with their theories can be grouped into a few groups.
One part of the criticizing group feels that the endeavor fails as the subsequent participants take up the challenge for posting their favorite black and white picture from their phone’s gallery instead of actually passing down the message for which the challenge began in the first place.This confusing algorithm has made this challenge redundant, not visionary, and seems to have replaced the ‘post a picture of yourself wearing a saree during these trying times kind of Facebook challenge.
The second group believes that the black and white challenge is not only in vain but also extremely limiting to believe that a woman can show solidarity only by showing their pretty-angular and nicely edited pictures. Hence, instead of posting pictures they have turned to writing a note about all the good work women around them are doing. This has also helped in boosting small businesses and increased their virality,popularity and importance in the last few weeks.
Another cohort opines that we need to understand that posting pictures or even other fancy posts won’t actually create a change or help someone who is actually going through something tragic. While the argument makes sense but as citizens the only role we can play is of creating awareness and if a single story has that potential,then why not.
This challenge moreover focuses only on female identities, which is not enough. Change can arrive only when every part of the society starts willingly participating in it and hence combining the voices of men, the marginalized genders, and even the different orientations will take it to greater levels of inclusivity and will no longer be a butt of jokes for many misogynistic meme pages.
Amidst this chaos, behind our speculating eyes,there will always be people who will engage in these challenges for pure entertainment, irrespective of their understanding or standpoint about the issue in discussion. The major problem lies here, that supporting anything prior to understanding what it stands for, is a sign of ignorance. One should represent and stand for a cause only if and when they are passionate about it or are in agreement with its aims or ideas.
Irrespective of the problems and limitations of this challenge and about other issues in general, one needs to keep in mind that everyone’s expression is different and shaming someone for participating in a challenge that is even minutely related to a cause that speaks of empowerment is tragic and hence all we can do is hope and believe that these pictures reach a distant place and making someone realize that they are really not alone.