Recently, women have started a challenge tagged “Women supporting Women” on Instagram, which has quickly become a worldwide trend, but many don’t seem to know the origin of this trend.
The origin of this challenge is from the alarming rate of femicide rates in Turkey, and women decided to do something to encourage and support each other.
It is usually initiated by women to other women who are challenged to post monochrome pictures of themselves, then tag others to do the same, saying “challenge accepted” and using the tag Women Supporting Women.
This serves to encourage women to show support for other women, especially in these hard times.
Many celebrities have made this challenge trend and when the movement got to Nigeria, something peculiar happened… Nollywood actor, Deyemi Okanlawon decided to tag along on the challenge, using a feminine filter and tagging fellow actors to do the same, which they did.
Afterward, he posted a compilation picture explaining what the challenge was all about, with an excerpt from News 18 India.
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While I know how much we need some laughter in these times I still feel the responsibility to find ways to bring to light the causes dear to my heart and that I am very passionate about – equal rights and the true empowerment of women. Special thanks to all the men who are committed to same ✊🏾✊🏾#empoweringwomen #mensupportingwomen @donjazzy @siruti @babarex0 @kennethokolie @melvin0duah @toosweetannangh @alexxekubo @brodashaggi . . Excerpt from @news18live… But while the challenge on Instagram is new, the network is a very-much real, very strong entity offline. Women in patriarchal societies have always been pitted against each other to make them feel as if every other women was in a competition against them. It takes years of unlearning this toxic practice to see and recognize women as other, actual individual beings instead of someone you're constantly trying to one-up. Then women build strong networks, or stepping up for other women, of calling out sexism when it happens to someone else, but most importantly for establishing a safe space, with other women. The network tells you, "I'm here for you." And sometimes, that's all women have ever really needed: the support of other women.
This didn’t sit well with Veteran Nollywood actress, Genevieve Nnaji who had taken part in the challenge herself.
She commented on his post, saying:
“We seek solace in humour to distract us from pain or discomfort. Tell me what it is you feel exactly? You see, that feeling that triggered you to make a joke of a movement that can only be understood by those it was meant for; the feeling of being overlooked or disregarded is part of the point of the challenge. No one likes to feel invisible. You felt it for a second. Women feel it every day of their lives. Let us hold our own hands if we want to. Be ok with it. Not everything is about you or for laughs. Shalom.”
Deyemi Okanlawon after seeing the post responded by posting the picture Genevieve used for the challenge, with the caption
“Dear big sis @genevievennaji… I know your heart and I stan forever! And to anyone else female/male who may have misconstrued the intent and felt bad, do know that I see you and I’m truly sorry you feel that way. In these times we need all the love, support and smiles we can get! ”
It might seem like the issue had been resolved, but some people still had a problem with the fact that he didn’t pull down al the previous posts immediately, claiming that he still didn’t take the ‘Women Supporting Women’ movement seriously.
Although the pictures have been deleted now, some women see it as a damage control measure.