As I was browsing through some of the sites I regularly visit, I saw a piece at Vox Popoli with the title, "The Satan gang flashing signs." Vox Day's post was about the observation that a number of top Democrats and Lefty celebrities had recently changed their profile pictures from color photos to black and white. These included Barack and Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Oprah, and others. What gives?
Well, one explanation is that it is just a reveal that the aforementioned persons are neurotic and/or depressed. Good Housekeeping noted in a 2016 article about what profile pictures reveal about a person that if your profile pic is black and white:
You're neurotic. Since your choice is basically the opposite of colorfulness, it's likely you're a little emotional and can be a bit negative at times (bummer, we know). But perhaps grayscale just speaks to your dramatic side.
The website socialmediapsychology.eu similarly relates about Twitter profile pics:
Beware of the artistic black-and-white images. Although not directly related to profile photos, results from a recent study done at Harvard University and the University of Vermont show that publishing dark monochromatic images can be a sign of underlying depression. Instagram data from 166 individuals revealed that depressed individuals tend to post bluer, grayer, and darker photos on the platform.
The other, and more probable reason in this case, is that it is yet another type of "virtue signaling", or as Day eloquently terms it, Satan gang signs. Specifically, a public showing of your support of female empowerment:
Have you been “challenged” yet? If you’re a woman with an Instagram account in the year of our lord 2020, then there’s a good chance you have been — or soon will be. The basic premise of the “challenge” is this: a woman sends you a message telling you that you’re beautiful and amazing. And like, thanks, you know. But, there’s more: They also ask you to post a black and white photo of yourself, all as part of a larger effort to support women. Should you choose to do so, you then post a photo, write some variation of the phrase “challenge accepted” underneath it, and then send a version of the same message to more women. You have thus completed your participation in The Challenge, which goes by various names including #WomenSupportingWomen and #ChallengeAccepted.
While the precise origin of this trend and its ensuing popularity is a gray area — some say it’s a response to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s viral speech against sexist remarks leveled at her by Rep. Ted Yoho, others, like travel reporter Tariro Mzezewa, have linked it to women in Turkey speaking out against domestic violence — one aspect of the challenge is very black-and-white: the images themselves. In a world with so much ambiguity, it’s worth asking why this stark, vintage-inspired aesthetic has been embraced as a means of spreading modern empowerment.
The current use of black and white photography goes beyond The Challenge — indeed, some have noticed a connection between its look and the aesthetics of Taylor Swift’s much-talked-about new album, folklore. But, the history of black and white photography obviously goes much further back. For as long as there’s been color photography, making the choice to use black and white instead has communicated an introspective seriousness, a kind of clarity of moral and artistic intent — it recalls Ansel Adams’ majestic landscapes, Robert Mapplethorpe’s boundary-breaking portraits, and Dorothea Lange’s humanizing images of American poverty. “There’s this idea that there’s something kind of truer about black and white,” says David Campany, managing director of programs at the International Center of Photography in New York. “On a technical level, it’s actually less true, because it’s less realistic, it’s got less information about the world. But on top of that, we have all sorts of metaphors about black and white: If you ask someone to give you the unvarnished truth, you'll say, ‘give it to me in black and white.’ So we have this idea that facts are black and white and color is some kind of wild, luxurious distraction. Which I don’t think is true at all.”
What does "female empowerment" mean? Ostensibly, "empowerment means accepting and allowing people (women) who are on the outside of the decision-making process into it." Yet if you look for photographs that embody empowerment, it is either women showing off their bodies, or women pretending to be men. I read the Daily Mail almost, well, daily, and at least once a week there will be some story of a woman or women taking off their clothes to "empower themselves" or show that they are "strong". Take this article (please!) from Thought Catalog on "Why Miley Cyrus Is Actually A Feminist" by Jillian Gutowitz. The author relates:
My favorite part of the Bangerz Tour was all of it — but more specifically was when I heard someone in the crowd say Miley Cyrus wasn’t a feminist, which I found hilarious. How could you think Miley Cyrus isn’t a feminist? Just because she shows a little booty and fake-sucked Abe Lincoln’s dick in front of 18,000 people? What a surface observation! Miley Cyrus doesn’t give a fuck about you and your opinions, which is actually how she catapulted herself into the world of feminism.
After slamming someone that argued Miley Cyrus was an example of how society has lost its standards, Gutowitz goes on a rant about how women like sex, and that "[s]lut-shaming is one of the worst things on Earth next to veganism."
So, again I ask, what is female empowerment? Well, we can look to Isaiah 3:12-26 for an answer:
As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people. The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts.
Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their [various costly and sexually enticing fashions and accessories]. And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty. Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war. And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.
Satan gang symbols indeed.