Unpopular Opinion: Things to consider before jumping in the black-and-white photo ‘challenge’

Just a few days after seeing a lot of black-and-white photos inspired by Taylor Swift’s folklore album, more black-and-white photos started popping up my Instagram newsfeed with the caption “#ChallengeAccepted”. At first, I thought it’s a Swifties thing but a few moments later, I started receiving the “challenge” via DM – all of which I’ve rejected. Not that I’m not supporting women empowerment or inclusivity or making the world a better place, it’s just that this challenge has flaws and I think you should consider these before jumping in the trend.

*Note: Party pooper alert, you can stop here if you’re easily offended. I am not here to attack anyone who already joined the challenge, I’m just sharing my two cents (or probably more).


There are different versions of this challenge going around. Based on what I know, there are currently three – one exclusive to women, one that does not mention “inclusivity”, and one that is open for all.

The mechanics are simple:

1. “Carefully” choose who might “meet the challenge” and share a certain type of thinking.

2. Post a photo in black and white and put “challenge accepted” as a caption.

3. Mention the person who nominated you in the caption.

4. Forward the message to 50 other women (or individuals if you got the different version) in private.


#1 For a challenge which wants to push for inclusivity, why are we limiting people that we choose to include in the challenge? Inclusive means “not excluding any section of society or any party involved in something”, so why limit it to a number of people who we choose to empower and who share “this type of thinking”? If a so-called friend doesn’t send you that message after seeing that she tagged other people, wouldn’t one feel left out? Shouldn’t we be educating people who do not think the same way (I assume this is for the “taking care of each other” part)? By saying “I chose you because you are beautiful, strong, and incredible”, aren’t we indirectly already leaving out the rest that were not chosen? *Insert special snowflake award here. Hurrah.*

A suggestion: Open your challenge to the public. Go beyond 50 and beyond DMs. Make it a public challenge, make it inclusive – for all women, for real.

#2 Women empowerment is great, no doubt about that, but isn’t in more empowering if you open your flaws – colors (or discolorations and imperfections) and all? Correct me if I’m wrong but I can’t recall any known women empowerment movement with the black and white colors (like how organizations use pink or purple for certain causes). I’m seeing women posting their selfies and portraits because they have “IG-worthy” photos to share, but these are also the same people who bombard our feeds with their photos – may it be black-and-white or not. To keep up with this “IG-worthy” scene, some have resorted to throwback photos – while lamenting how amazing their bodies or faces used to be. I know a friend who shared this sentiment and it does not sound empowering at all.

A suggestion: Share a photo of a woman or women who have inspired you to become a better person. Maybe then, we can all equally empower women, including those who are ashamed to post their portraits on their feeds. If not a photo of a person, maybe an item or an essential that are considered taboo for women?

#3 Merely saying “challenge accepted” does not help the goal at all. This challenge has already spread like wildfire and it’s a missed opportunity to push for the cause if people are left in the dark. It looks like a tag-a-friend challenge at first look.

A suggestion: Share a nice word or a story about how the person or people you’ve nominated have helped empower you beyond that copy-paste message circulating on social media. Use your platform to uplift people who need it. Add a meaningful caption if you can. “Make the world a better place” by sharing a good word, maybe?

#4 Make the challenge… challenging. Reach out to the people you picked. Talk to them and ask them if they’re okay instead of just forwarding a chain message and disappearing in a snap. Let them know why you’re sending that challenge beyond what’s already stated in the mechanics. It’s more convincing and empowering if you talk to people, you know?

A suggestion: Aside from sparking a REAL CONVERSATION, how about donating to a charity that takes care of girls and women who have been abused? I’m sure these groups need help as well.

#5 What will be its long-term impact? Before joining trending challenges, I hope we can all consider effects in the long run. Sure, it’s just for fun and a party pooper decided to blog about it yadda yadda yadda, but is it something that you’d be proud of joining? Is it really inclusive? Is it really empowering? If you’re still answering this with a yes, then by all means, go and continue posting as you wish. If not, I hope my suggestions above helped somehow. 🙂


I believe the original idea behind the trend should also be considered. It’s said to be for victims of femicide in Turkey (correct me if I’m wrong), as stated in this Instagram post from @shityoushouldcareabout. You can read about it here, but I suggest that you click on the links for the full story:

(Screenshot from @shityoushouldcareabout’s Instagram page)
(Screenshot from @shityoushouldcareabout’s Instagram page)

If we stick to this original source of the challenge, everything would make sense but if we stick to the vague “chain message” being passed around, then I’d still hold on to my suggestions.

I love all your photos, no hate here. Just sharing my insights which might be able to help improve future challenges. Social media is an amazing (and scary) place, but it can also be hella vague. Let’s maximize the platform and our reach in making things easier to understand for a wider audience. ♥️

In case you want to read more about my ramblings and musings (or educate me about what I’m missing here), feel free to connect with Manila Millennial on Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.  Keep safe, everyone! 

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