Selfies For A Cause: The “Woke Up This Way Challenge”

Selfies For A Cause: The “Woke Up This Way” Challenge: Perks of social media aside, it is an unquestionable fact that social media platforms influence us greatly and more often than not, not for the better. Our perspectives, our lifestyles and our mindsets are tugged towards whatever is trending on such platforms whether they are good or bad through the power of social media.

A combination of images, captions, videos, and challenges is used to convince or disabuse people of something, to sell ideas and products and to cultivate certain behaviors.

One such behavior is the idea of perfection. It’s intentionally and unintentionally promoted by Instagram, a social media platform that uses images as the main form of communication and operation. The images can be edited with various filters, and organized with tags and location information.

Launched in October 6, 2010, approximately 8 years ago, Instagram steadily gained popularity, with one million registered users in two months, 10 million in a year, and ultimately 800 million as of September 2017. Instagram was listed among Times “50 Best Android Applications for 2013” list. While Instagram has a neutral gender-bias format, 68% of Instagram users are female while 32% are male. Studies have shown that images with people’s faces attract more likes and comments and thus has a much higher engagement rate.

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Keeping these facts in mind, it becomes instantly clear the reach and power to exert influence this tool possesses. Plus why such a platform has propagated the idea of perfection to a level that has become toxic. People only post images that are perfect in every single way, aligned, beautiful and free of anything and everything that can be considered an imperfection. From celebrity accounts and influencer accounts like lifestyle accounts, bookstagram accounts, makeup accounts and businesses promoting their products, the images are carefully cultivated to reach the ultimate goal: to get more followers and to sell. Also have a look at these Tips To Make Your Skin Glow Naturally.

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Normal users with small reach and a couple of hundred followers, mostly those with personal accounts don’t take such care with their pictures but the celebrities and accounts with higher follower count do, and that’s what matters since these people are essentially responsible for the selling to the normal users. It’s a full circle.

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What that has done essentially is making people believe, as firmly as possible, that nothing is worthwhile, unless it’s flawless. In a few areas this may be encouraging, for instance, for businesses selling their products or accounts displaying a specific set of skills like sewing accounts, etc, the most negative affect this belief has is on body image and self-confidence about their looks.

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People look up towards celebrities and want to be like them and when they can’t they despair and start feeling bad about themselves and more often than not this leads to anxiety, depression and a number of other mental illnesses. It also promotes bullying towards people who are considered less than perfect or ‘short of the mark’ of celebrities. What they don’t understand is one single image takes a ton of preparation and that these celebrities require an army of people to make them look the way they do. Since a large percentage of the Instagram audience is women and women tend to be more particular about their looks, it becomes evident how this mindset is harmful.

Who Started the Woke Up This Way Challenge?

To combat this, Elaine Daneshrad, a pop art blogger, who’s on Instagram at @iamfashionlaine started the #WokeUpThisWayChallege on June 19. She also appeared on television the same day to promote this campaign.

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Posted with this image, the fashion blogger’s post urged people to fully support this campaign in spreading awareness about this issue along with the rules to be followed to successfully move it forward to as many people as possible. The caption reads:

“Life’s not perfect, we’re not perfect, but through social media, we’ve all mastered showing these most “perfect” lives we all portray. So TODAY I’m launching a movement to change the way we see & speak about this!

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Social media has been a beautiful way to connect us around the world, yet statistics have shown how it’s also led to issues of mental wellness as we end up continually comparing ourselves to everyone else’s “highlight reels”—making us believe that we’re the only ones dealing with real life struggles behind the scenes.

She called out to all bloggers and influencers as well as friends and family to stand up to make a change:

So today, I’ve rallied an army of bloggers, actors, doctors, students, parents, & friends to STAND FOR A CHANGE & join me in launching the #WokeUpThisWayChallenge to bring some REALness back to social media by posting what to me, is the most IMperfect pic of ourselves— what we look like when we wake up in the morning. Something we typically wouldn’t post for the world — hence why this is a CHALLENGE.”

She stated the rules of her challenge to help it spread:

1- Post of photo of yourself when you wake up in the morning with the hashtag #WokeUpThisWayChallenge and talk 2- about how you’re spreading the message to bring realness back to social media.
3- Tag 3 (or more!) friends to challenge them next to post a morning photo.
Mention in your caption that if people don’t want to participate by posting a photo, instead donate money to @ladygaga’s @btwfoundation which is committed to promoting the wellness of young people and inspiring them to create a kinder, braver world.

Hollywood Celebrities Take Up #wokeupthiswaychallenge

↓ – Samantha McMillen

Hollywood celebrity stylist Samantha McMillen accepted Elaine Daneshrad’s challenge and posted her no-filter selfie. She then nominated Cindy Crawford, Jaime King, Tara Swennen (both of whom responded) and Jaime Taylor.

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↓ – Tara Swennen

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She is another  Hollywood celebrity stylist who accepted the challenge.

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↓ – Cindy Crawford

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Nominated by stylist Samantha McMillin, the supermodel was quick to respond with this image of her still in bed after waking up.

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↓ – Brittany Snow

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The actress posted the challenge photo in her insta story, claiming that she hates selfies.

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↓ – Jamie King

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The actress and model responded to the stylist’s challenge as well with her caption stating that it was 6:45 am and she was snuggled next to her children! Her caption further reads:

With extraordinary suicide rates in our kids and an unflinching need to be “liked” we are turning our backs on the beauty of being present and open with ourselves and others. We question too often our self-worth based on comparisons that are futile and harmful. Who we are in our authenticity is the the most radiant and important space we can live in. It’s why we build lasting friendships, get shit done, know we are enough when we can reside in our truth and let others reside in theirs.

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↓ – AnnaLynne McCord

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Posting her early morning selfie, her caption reads:

was not a challenge I can say I necessarily wanted to be a part of. I still have my acne scars reminding me of years of insecurity (which I still feel when the light hits them the wrong way ): ) -I do love the idea of reminding ourselves that being perfect means being unique which means being the youEST you, you can be. But, that’s cliche AF. How???? How do we do that in a world that ‘LIKES’ you when you’re “flawless”? — There’s a middle ground to be found — because I still took 7 selfies to get this one 😉 — hey, I’m trying here.

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Bollywood Celebrities on Going Natural and Self-Acceptance

Bollywood celebrities haven’t officially responded to this call but one celebrity deserves special mention here for her unflinching confession about what it’s truly like being famous and in scrutiny of the media all the time. Glamorous life, she says, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Sonam Kapoor, daughter of actor Anil Kapoor, a famous actress in her own right and a style icon as well posted something similarly inspiring before this challenge began. The actress took to Instagram to bust the myth of perfection surrounding Bollywood actresses and urged women in her post to stay happy with the way they are and accept themselves as being perfect. She also wrote a detailed Buzzfeed article in September 2016, in which she went into great detail about her insecurities as a teenager and how she managed to overcome that.

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So, for every teen girl leaning into her bedroom mirror, wondering why she doesn’t look like a celebrity: Please know that nobody wakes up like this. Not me. Not any other actress. (Not even Beyoncé. I swear.)

Here’s the real deal: Before each public appearance, I spend 90 minutes in a makeup chair. Three to six people work on my hair and makeup, while a professional touches up my nails. My eyebrows are tweezed and threaded every week. There’s concealer on parts of my body that I could never have predicted would need concealing.

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I’m up at 6am every day and at the gym by 7:30. I exercise for 90 minutes and, some evenings, again before bed. It’s someone’s full-time job to decide what I can and cannot eat. There are more ingredients in my face packs than in my food. There’s a team dedicated to finding me flattering outfits.

After all that, if I’m still not “flawless” enough, there are generous servings of Photoshop.

I’ve said it before, and I will keep saying it: It takes an army, a lot of money, and an incredible amount of time to make a female celebrity look the way she does when you see her. It isn’t realistic, and it isn’t anything to aspire to.

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Flawlessness is a dangerous, high-budget myth, and it’s time we shattered it

The challenge was taken up by Pakistani celebrities as well.

Pakistani Celebrities Take Up #wokeupthiswaychallenge

↓ 1 – Nadia Hussain

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The famous veteran Pakistani model and actress took up the challenge on July 8 when she reposted Cindy Crawford’s challenge post. She further nominated Mawra Hussain, Mahira Khan, Ayesha Omar and Sajal Ali, all famous actresses and household names. None of them have answered the challenge yet. Here are 25 Pakistani Snapchat Accounts to Follow.

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The model received negative comments on her no-filter photo proving just how polluted the mindset towards ‘beauty’ has become.

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↓ 2 – Sahiba Afzal

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The wife of actor John Rambo and a famous actress in her own right, Sahiba accepted Nadia Hussain’s call for the challenge and posted her own non-filter photo. She didn’t nominate anyone in her post.

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↓ 3 – Dua Malik

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Host and sister of actress Humaima Malik, Dua Malik responded to Nadia Hussain’s post with a photo of her own. She also didn’t nominate anyone in her post.

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↓ 4 – Zhalay Sarhadi

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Zhalay Sarhadi took up the challenge on July 11 and posted her no-filter selfie. She too didn’t nominate anyone in her post which is one reason why this initiative hasn’t spread so far in Pakistan yet.

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The response from the industry hasn’t been too enthusiastic or encouraging though common people have been posting and reposting this. But again, it’s the celebrities whose contributions matter the most as they have an significant part in swaying other people to a good cause. Hopefully this picks up soon as people realize how important and healthy an initiative like this is.

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