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What is #WomenSupportingWomen, the new Instagram viral challenge

A series of black and white shots as a symbol of sisterhood

What is #WomenSupportingWomen, the new Instagram viral challenge   A series of black and white shots as a symbol of sisterhood

If you have scrolled Instagram these days it is impossible for you not to see a torrent of black and white shots followed by the hashtag #WomenSupportingWomen. The challenge exploded in the US and from there it travelled worldwide, involving more than 7 million women who decided to demonstrate their sisterhood, with the simple desire to raise awareness about female empowerment and convey positivity. Among them, there are also many celebrities: from Charlize Theron to Eva Longoria, from Jennifer Aniston to Katie Holmes, from Khloe Kardashian to Victoria Beckham, from JLo to Reese Witherspoon who wrote: 

Thank you to all the magical women in my life for the endless love and support. May we all continue to shine a light on one another. This is what sisterhood is all about. 

In Italy, the first ones to answer this social call were Levante and Chiara Ferragni.

We rise by lifting others. I always love a challenge when I can support other women I admire. - The influencer wrote and, after naming a few friends, she added - Women, we’re so strong, and together we can be even stronger. 

You can join in, it's easy. Just post your own black and white photo online and, perhaps, name, inviting to do the same, other women you admire, love or have inspired. All combined with the hashtag #WomenSupportingWomen, #ChallengeAccepted or #blackandwhitechallenge.

How this idea came about is not yet clear, but there are three hypotheses. Some say it all started about ten days ago, when the Brazilian journalist Ana Paula Padrão published the first photo with the tag #WomenSupportingWomen. Others claim that the trend is an attempt to raise public awareness around the growing number of femicides in Turkey. 

Turkish people wake up every day to see a black and white photo of a woman who has been murdered on their Instagram feed, on their newspapers, on their TV screens. - you can read in the post by @beelzeboobz - The black and white photo challenge started as a way for women to raise their voice. To stand in solidarity with the women we have lost. To show that one day, it could be their picture that is plastered across news outlets with a black and white filter on top.

According to the New York Times and PR manager Cristine Abram, instead, this wave of feminism and female empowerment must be linked to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's viral speech who, in response to the insults received by Congressman Ted Yoho, denounced the ruling sexist culture.

Behind the viral challenge, there is no concrete project, battle or specific goal. The ephemeral nature of WomenSupportingWomen has, together with the exclusion of transgender people, raised several criticisms about the meaning of this initiative. There are many serious problems that women have to face every day, from sexual harassment to discrimination at work to body shaming and probably this social trend won't fix anything, but looking at this chain of sisterhood is good for the heart and gives hope for a better present and future.