Teddy Locsin says DFA to ‘follow’ black-and-white selfie challenge after Robredo post

July 29, 2020 - 3:26 PM
Vice President Leni Robredo's black and white selfie on Facebook (Leni Robredo/Released)

(Updated 3:36 a.m.) Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddy” Locsin Jr. said the Department of Foreign Affairs will “follow” the black and white selfie challenge after Vice President Leni Robredo posted her version, which was part of a global initiative to uplift women.

Robredo shared her black and white photo on her personal Facebook account on July 28 as her contribution to the new online challenge. She also used the phrase “Challenge accepted” in her entry and added the hashtag #womenliftingwomen.

Challenge accepted. @princessbbr #womenliftingwomen

Posted by Leni Gerona Robredo on Monday, July 27, 2020


When this photo was picked up by local news outlets, Locsin noticed it and reacted to one of the social media posts about it on his official Twitter account.

“DFA following. Black & white photos have always been more expressive and focused,” Locsin said.

Aside from Robredo, some of the biggest names in the Philippine entertainment industry also participated in the challenge. These include Nadine Lustre, Angel Locsin, Liza Soberano and Regine Velasquez, among others.

Although the photo challenge caters to women, Kapuso actor Alden Richards also shared his black and white selfie on Instagram and captioned it with: “Challenge accepted.”

View this post on Instagram

Challenge accepted

A post shared by Alden Richards (@aldenrichards02) on

Unlike other online trends, an online user have to receive the challenge first via private messages on Instagram or on Facebook.

The message can be edited but it goes like this:

“I was careful to choose who I think will meet the challenge, but above all who I know who shares this type of thinking, among individuals there are several criticisms; Instead, we should take care of each other and make everyone inclusive. We are beautiful the way we are.”

“Post a photo in black and white alone, written ‘challenge accepted’ and mention my name. Identify 50 individuals to do the same, in private. I chose you because you are beautiful, strong and incredible.”

The sender also enjoins the recipient to “like” each other’s posts and “make the world a better place.”

While the majority of such selfies are shared on Instagram, some online users like Robredo opted to share their versions on Facebook.

To raise awareness on femicide?

Amid the latest social media challenge, other online users have expressed skepticism and criticism on the motive behind this photo movement which could be seen on Instagram feed in the past few days.

A report by The New York Times titled “‘Challenge Accepted’: Why Women Are Posting Black-and-White Selfies” mentioned that some women have recently joined the challenge to raise awareness on femicide, a form of gender-based violence against women, in Turkey.

The publication attached a link to a tweet, where the user imaann_patel attached screenshots of Instagram Stories that explained how the movement is actually about the deaths of Turkish women.

In the screenshots, the user noted that Turkey is one of the countries with the highest cases of femicide in the world and most of it went unrecorded.

“Just in 2019, we have had almost 500 recorded femicides. Sadly, many of them remain unrecorded and we have no real number as to how many women are murdered here every year. Just this week, we have had several women murdered.”

Turkish people shared black and white photos to reflect the filters news outlets use when reporting cases of femicide.

“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, I could be their picture that is plastered across news outlets with a black and white filter on top.”

Washington-based institution Middle East Institute reported that perpetrators of femicide are either former husbands or soon-to-be ex-partners.

Despite the high rate of killings, the Turkish government is perceived to be lacking in its position on violence against women.

“The Turkish government does not regularly release official statistics on femicide, but nearly every day the media reports at least one woman being killed by a man. Needless to say, the government’s reluctance to take a strong political stance on violence against women is encouraging male perpetrators,” the report read.

Black and white photo challenge origins

However, NYT reporter Taylor Lorenz clarified that the challenge has been around since 2016.

“The challenge has been around since 2016 in various forms. That is just one recent manifestation of it,” Lorenz said.

She said that Instagram and Facebook investigated the origin of the #ChallengeAccepted hashtags in Turkey but they told her that “while we found b&w posts relating to women’s rights, it doesn’t appear related to the more recent #ChallengeAccepted resurgence.”

“It’s great that Turkish women are now and more recently hopping on the trend in this way, but neither the trend nor its resurgence originated with them,” Lorenz concluded.

In her article, Lorenz said that in 2016, “black-and-white photos with hashtag #ChallengeAccepted were initially meant to spread a message of cancer awareness. Over the years the photo trend has also been used to ‘spread positivity.'”

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article indicated that the black-and-white photo challenge was created to solely raise awareness on femicide in Turkey. This has been corrected.