There are three constant things in life: rain, tax, and internet challenges. Just fresh from the Buss It Challenge and its equally viral cousin the Big Bank, the latest is an export from TikTok (because where else?) called the #SihouetteChallenge where a person poses in front of a source of light, often in a doorway or a window, then cuts to an image of themselves in a stripped image or a silhouette striking the same pose.
It’s a fun challenge that has found its ways into other social media sites, with women predominantly participating in it. On Twitter, Nigerian women have been putting their own spins on the trend, sometimes clownish, sometimes genuinely amateurish in a way that is familiar and Nigerian, as this twitter user [email protected] aptly puts it. The common theme is that they all look like they are enjoying themselves and egged on by other women.
But seeing women having fun on their terms has drawn unsurprising comments from men (and women), preaching about modesty and moral values, and asking how this challenge ”empowers” women. It has landed on ClubHouse as a burning topic where people debate the autonomy of women about doing a challenge that is less 60 seconds.
These conversations are exhausting and retrograde because they never take us forward. ”Empowerment” has been a buzzword used in many feminist circles and grassroot communities to describe women doing things at odds with what society says they can’t do, act, or say, and it comes with a degree of self-determination.
And women aren’t all the same, and what might be empowering for one might not be for the other. If a woman sees nudity as liberating, what is the fuss about? Society has never respected women, and it won’t start now even if they cover up themselves from head to toe like an Egyptian mummy. Women posturing for society so that they can be treated better is respectability politcs, and, more often than not, they aren’t treated better. Women are sluts to society anyway.
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies and reading comics and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.