Home Essays Silhouette Challenge Gone Wrong by Ebube by Ebube Ezeadum.

Silhouette Challenge Gone Wrong by Ebube by Ebube Ezeadum.



Anita didn’t find it funny some years back. She didn’t just lose her phone to thieves, she lost some pictures and videos that would crucify her if it was ever released. The day after the party when she last saw her phone, her elder sister, Precious, was called. The criminal asked her if both of them were together. And she replied positively. The blackmailer on the other line told her that he had Anita’s phone and had full assess to it. Well, Anita wasn’t surprised; her L-shaped-phone-unlocking pattern was easy to guess. To prove what they were saying, they sent some of Anita’s nude pictures to Precious’ WhatsApp number. They were both shocked, though for different reasons. Anita and Precious were asked to “drop” #100,000 to a certain account number or have Anita’s full nude folders “dropped” on Twitter and Facebook. I recall how she used Precious’ account to make a plea to all her contacts that her social media accounts had been hacked. But it was too late. Since they couldn’t raise the money before the 5-day deadline, some milder photos of her nude had dropped on WhatsApp as a threat birth.


When I heard of the silhouette challenge, I immediately thought of Anita. I thought of Anita’s mistake of allowing her phone’s camera to behold her birthday suit in the first place. But the silhouette challenge is a less private version of Anita’s case.


The silhouette challenge has been viral for a while now. It is a challenge whereby women assume nudity or wear nearly bared or very tight-fitting clothes. And using a Tiktok or Snapchat red filter, they create a silhouette of themselves most times dancing or posing in a sexually provocative manner. This is done by ensuring that the lighting in the room where their phone camera stands is dimmer than the light outside. So most often than not, the ladies who wish to participate in the challenge stand by the door where a relatively bright light cast a shadow of them showing fewer details of their bodies and more of their side outlines. The red filter on Tiktok or Snapchat does the rest [1]. At least, their nude details are hidden – or so they thought.


However, the cliché “nothing hides under the sun for long” was fulfilled rather too soon. The supposedly hidden details of some of those silhouettes were exposed. Numerous videos on YouTube described how those red filters could be removed from the silhouettes. The main aim was to savage the original pictures and behold the private details of the dark-figure-behind-a-red-background lady. This was a terrible thing especially for those who were either almost or completely unclad. Most ladies were unfortunate to have their naked bodies circulate the Internet even when many of them might not have that intension [2]. Based on some comments from Twitter, this unsolicited exposure has broken relationships: relationships between mother and daughter, relationships between the exposed woman and her love partner and relationships between the victim of such act and their workplace or immediate society at large. This has created a social brouhaha. While many gain viewership by uploading the edited and naked photos of unlucky silhouette participants, the self-esteem of many are crushed like camphor pebbles underneath a boulder [1][2]. A somewhat good intention, sometimes, is twisted into something terrible. Although the silhouette challenge was created to make women regain self-esteem and love their own body more, the table had been inverted [1][2].


The consequences of participating and worse, having your image “unfiltered” are as obvious as “I eat with my mouth.” The effect of having your nude pictures spread over the Internet can range from social stigma or segregation to a hindrance in keeping or finding a job [3]. It can even be an escalator of rape cases. Sometimes, it breaks trust and cracks relationships or even spur shame in the families of the victim of such exposure.


The silhouettes challenge should be a clear warning to all, most especially to the ladies. That which is designed to be done behind closed doors should never be seen by the cameras of your phone, worse still, sent over the Internet. There are multiple ways to have fun. And it is only wise to know that no form of nudity challenge should occupy a space in your list. Don’t hang your integrity below a dangling piece of thin thread. It is most certainly sure to fall.



[1] Lauren Strapagiel (2021) ‘Women Are Warning Creators About The TikTok Silhouette Challenge’ Buzzfeednews (February 1, 2021).

Retrieved at: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/laurenstrapagiel/tiktok-silhouette-challenge-editing

(Accessed: February 3, 2021).


[2] Alma Sacasa (2021) ‘How TikTok’s Silhouette Challenge Is Becoming Dangerous for Women’ peopleenespanol (February 2, 2021).

Retrieved at: https://peopleenespanol.com/chica/tiktok-silhouette-challenge-dangerous/

(Accessed: February 4, 2021).


[3] Quinn Myers (2020) ‘Here’s What Your Hr Department Knows About Your Online Nudes’ Melmagazine (January 2020).

Retrieved at:


(Accessed: February 3, 2021).

Ebube Ezeadum, a lover of creative writing wrote in via ezeadumebube@gmail.com

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