In the same vain attempt to parade support (rather than actually support) for Black Lives Matter by posting a black square on one’s social media accounts, so, too, have we now been “given” the “opportunity” to show support for women as women by “nominating” them for the “challenge” of posting a flattering black and white photo of themselves on Instagram. While many don’t see the “harm” in sending “love” for the women in their life in this laughably inane fashion, all it serves to do is perpetuate the hollow vacuity behind every gesture of “activism” in the present epoch. Easy as 1, 2, 3, post a selfie. What’s more, the fact that women have long been written off by, shall we say, “the ones in charge,” as a result of their fixation on vanity and appearance, such a “phenomenon” isn’t really the best idea in terms of debunking the myth of female frivolousness by way of self-obsession when it comes to aesthetics. Making it all the more facile for patriarchal forces to laugh in her face when she tries to rally for more authority the way so few women have been able to (AOC being one of the rare exceptions, and who has also ironically been a part of the uptick in the trend) this far along in the twenty-first century.
The femmes who capitulated to posting a photo, trying to play it off as “all in good fun” and “why not,” don’t seem understand that the more women give in to meaningless gestures on social media–an entity whose power and weight people still don’t seem to fully grasp–the more they denigrate themselves in the long run. Open themselves up to the criticism that is tantamount to the modern equivalent of discrediting her because she’s a “dumb blonde.” A trope that is still difficult to avoid no matter what your hair or skin color is as a member of the “fairer sex.”
What’s more, the obvious lack of consequential support for other women through this method is evident in the fact that it was just another means to self-aggrandize via the showcasing of one’s highly altered physical appearance when presented on social media as a stylized black and white glamor shot. Being that women are always prattling on about dispensing a healthy image that closely aligns with reality so as not to give other women a complex about their own looks, the “exercise” fails automatically to support anyone in this sense by passing these photos off as “natural” or “candid” (when, in truth, it looks about as natural or candid as Taylor Swift walking through the woods in her own black and white cover art for Folklore).
And since women are the most sensitive about appearance, contributing further to the endless cycle of their fucked up body image is a bit head-scratching in terms of how this “challenge” is supposed to feel supportive. But no matter, everyone can pat themselves on the back for being a feminist now. Maybe next week, women can nominate each other for a similar “challenge” only this time with the caveat that it needs to be a belfie.