Explained: #BreakStereotypes Challenge on Social Media

Breaking stereotypes one picture at a time

Sundas Khalid


Women are posting powerful images with text snippets on Instagram tagged #BreakStereotypes to address commonly held stereotypes against women and inspire one another. It’s not really a challenge — it’s a movement.

Women participating in Breaking Stereotype Movement. Pictures belong to (left to right): @sundaskhalid, @z.ba68, 8@lindahaviv, @herhelloworld @marynguyenco

Key Facts

The movement originally started with fbeinghumbleldn account on Instagram that advocates self promotion, founded by Stefanie Sword-William, where it shared below picture of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC). The picture aimed to amplify and celebrate AOC’s powerful speech after Republican’s sexist remarks.

This was followed by Ankita Joshi who along with her friends shared a series of pictures around July 27th 2020. The initial photo by Ankita was later promoted by her friend Paulina Castrellon who provided additional content and instructions on the movement (challenge).

Women are often discouraged to talk about their accomplishments. They get called “arrogant” or not humble when they do speak up. — Ankita Joshi.

Since then hundreds of women have participated in this movement with #BreakingStereotypes #SheCanDoBoth — and the movement continues to gain momentum.

Ankita J’s original post on July 27th 2020. Left: Ankita J Right: instructions by Paulina Castrellon

Stereotypes women face

  • She is too pretty to be smart.
  • You are too pretty to know math and science.
  • She is model so she must be dumb.
  • You don’t look like an engineer. Remember the 2015 campaign #IlooklikeanEngineer.
  • Women have it easy because men take care of them.



Sundas Khalid

I write about data science, diversity & lifestyle | currently at Google | more learning content at sundaskhalid.com