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How TikTok’s Silhouette Challenge Encourages Online Misogyny

How TikTok’s Silhouette Challenge Encourages Online Misogyny

Creators are warning each other against trying TikTok’s new silhouette challenge after online threads and videos reveal how to remove the effect, leaving the subject exposed.

For those unfamiliar with the latest trend to sweep the video-sharing app, the silhouette challenge involves users lip-syncing to the Streets x Put Your Head On My Shoulder remix, flipping to reveal their silhouette backlit with a red filter as the beat drops. The nature of the challenge lends itself to creators removing most—if not all of— their clothing for the silhouette.

When done correctly, no nudity is shown. However, Buzzfeed now reports people are sharing instructions on how to allegedly remove the silhouette effect to capture the image beneath across Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube.

TikTokers are also warning fellow female creators against attempting the silhouette challenge in full-nude.

Despite little evidence that anyone has successfully removed the silhouette effect via the instructions, these threats prey on vulnerable young women, weaponising their self-love against them out of fear of being exposed on the internet.

Many note these tutorials enable violence against women, as they’re rooted in online abuse and misogyny. According to WESNET’s Safety Net Australia Service, online misogyny is “when the internet and related technologies are used as tools to target, harm and express hatred towards women” and can include doxxing, hacking, image-based abuse (like posting or sharing intimate photos), stalking, exploitation, and threatening or inciting rape against a woman.

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The United Nations reports that over 73% of women online have experienced abuse that that abuse experienced by women between the ages of 18-24— TikTok’s primary demographic— often includes more dangerous forms of harassment such as stalking and violence.

The effects of online misogyny can be severe and long-lasting, with some victims forced to disengage online, censor themselves, or completely remove their digital footprint all together. Many report experiencing anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation as a result of the abuse.

If you or someone you know has experienced online misogyny or abuse, you can report it at 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) or contact your local authorities.

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