Challenge Accepted - #Womensupportingwomen

                   
Source: KQED

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As Instagram feed continues to flood with black and white pictures of both famous and infamous women, with quotes of lifting and supporting each other and the trending has-tags of #challengeaccepted, and #womensupportingwomen. Not everyone knows the cause of its origin, so here’s how and when it happened.

According to the New York Times, an Instagram influencer said that the trend of women posting black and white picture started a week ago from the page of a Brazilian journalist. However, influencer marketing experts assume that there might be other possible reasons in the recent present for the campaign to go viral.


Reason’s for the Ongoing Trend

One of the possible reasons could be the lightning speech of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the US representative, on the house floor in respond to the sexist remark made by a male colleague, known as Ted Yoho last week, which also went viral on various social media platforms.

However, the most possible reason for the trend of posting black and white pictures on Instagram could be the murder of a 27 year old Turkish women, names Pinar Gultekin, by her ex boyfriend. The act has sparked outrage in Turkey along with other parts of the world.

The incident has also brought lights on the country’s shockingly high femicide (murder of women \girls, only because of their gender) rate, along with the government’s efforts to dilute laws protecting women from the horrifying act of honor killing.

                               

Source:Business World


The Origin of #Womensupportingwomen

It all started spreading in Turkey when Pinar Gultekin, a 27 year old Turkish woman was murdered by her ex boyfriend. The ultimate objective of the challenge was to mourn the deaths of thousands of women, who have lost their lives as a result of femicide in Turkey.

According to a survey 42% of the Turkish women between the ages of 15-60 have suffered from physical or sexual violence from their husbands or partners. In 2019 alone 474 women were brutally murdered in gender based violence, and with the nationwide lockdown in place the numbers for 2020 are expected to be even higher.

However, Pinar was not the first victim of such an act of violence there have been Eminie Bulunt, and many more before her. Some facing physical violence, while others sexual and psychological violence. No matter what kind of violence it is, women have been subjected to it for years, even after laws for their protection being present.

In the last week the challenge got a lot of media attention and has spread across the world, because people are angry and stands in solidarity with all the women who have lost their lives. However, inspite of that the Turkish government plans to back out from the Istanbul treaty which is meant to protect women from all kinds of violence.


The Istanbul Convention

The Istanbul convention is a European human rights treaty, which was signed in Istanbul in the year 2011. The convention is responsible for preventing and combating violence against women, including domestic violence. There is a list of offences characterized in the convention as violence against women.

Some of the violence categorized are physical, psychological as well as sexual abuse, including stalking. However, the convention realizes that the legal and actual gender equality is a way of preventing violence against women and therefore, prohibits discrimination against women.

In fact in a response to the murder of Pinar Gultenkin, the associate president of Mersin bar responded by saying “failure to apply the Istanbul convention is the reason why women are being murdered, if the convention lives, women live.”

In another comment made by the AKP Deputy Chairman, Numan Kurtumus, he said that signing the Istanbul convention was a mistake and that the convention is destroying and harming families. The fact that if the convention is not present it will increase violence against women “is an urban legend”.


Government and Law

After the new conservative government in power, a lot of rights of women have come under threat. In fact, recently the conservative government has tried to roll back laws of basic rights of women claiming that they were threatening the traditional family values.

Statements made by various Turkish authorities in the past and well as in recent times reflects the circumstances under which women lives in the country. The president allegedly claimed that men and women are not equal and those without children are deficient. The former Prime minister also said that women wearing shorts in public should be harassed verbally.

The government does not enforce the laws which are not only a part of the constitution but also a requirement under international agreement. The country in infact dominated by men and are resistant to challenge their privileges.

Both the national as well as international legislation's provides full protection to women, but the Turkish government willingly hesitates to implement these laws in full because of its understanding of the role of women. The state also does not release any data about the murders of women as well.


Conclusion

In total 3000 photos have appeared on Instagram alone as a sign of solidarity against the violence which have been taking place for so many years. However, the #Challengeaccepted is not trending for the first time. It has been used in the past for spreading cancer awareness.

Some pictures have floated in Instagram with #womensupportingwomen, these hash-tags are infact being used to support women of their own community. The black and white pictures also say a lot, as the black squares represents solidarity with the black community.

However, the black and white selfies have been receiving a lot of criticism online. As the pictures do not contain any words, we cannot actually state this to be any kind of advocacy. Many people are actually suggesting that instead of sharing our portraits, we share pictures of women whose life has inspired us or infact articles and books which have inspired lives of many.

However, a lot of influencers and celebrities are also participating and sharing their pictures because there is no active advocacy involved, and therefore, they would not lose any followers.

But at the end we should all remember that our beautiful black and white portrait is yes, to empower each other, and treat each other with love and kindness, but also because “so many men disregard and dispose our beauty”, we have to create resistance in order to stop them, and protect each other.


Written by – Adrija Saha


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