Some of the #NoMakeUpSelfies are starting to shit me.
Before you think I’m pro-cancer or anti-feminist or something, let me be clear. I appreciate the campaign and its’ results in all its’ splendour. Many of my friends have done it, and I like to assume that most of them remembered to donate, either privately or publicly. Either way, good on them, and you all look gorgeous regardless.
|Kim Kardashian's #nomakeupselfie|
If you don’t know what a #NoMakeUpSelfie is, it’s the current trend of au naturel photos that many people are taking of themselves (mainly women, and including celebrities, some of whom I suspect are wearing make-up...) and sharing on social media, in a bid to raise awareness and money for cancer. It’s not that I don’t understand the cause, I do. I appreciate a good cancer campaign for the money and awareness it raises (though is anyone actually unaware of cancer?!), not to mention that from a marketing point of view, it’s bloody impressive to watch them spread like wildfire. I have learned that the original ‘no make-up thing’ was started by Escentual.com in the UK (not actually by a cancer foundation, though fortunately they are reaping benefits*), to encourage women to get sponsored to show up to work or social events with no make-up on, and as an ode to the cancer-sufferers who have ever felt as if cancer has stripped them of their vanity by taking away their breasts, their hair, their eyebrows, or their energy/desire to put make up on. That’s cool.
But the photos endlessly popping up in my NewsFeed are starting to shit me, because I think it has become such a craze, that a few people are missing the point.
Firstly, if you are trying to strip yourself of vanity in an ode to cancer-sufferers (and actually, some cancer survivors are finding it incredibly offensive and painful, like this cancer-survivor), then don’t spend twenty minutes taking a bunch of photos from good angles in perfect lighting, and then fiddling with filters and composition on the best pic until it’s flawless, before sharing it with the world. Ain’t nothing humble about that. You aren’t fooling anyone – I can tell an airbrushed selfie from a mile away. Thankfully, not all the #NoMakeUpSelfies are that narcissistic. Some of them are just crappy, vanity-free photos of the self-snapper. But this is the thing: unless you are donating money with that, or actually bringing my attention to something other than the fact that cancer exists, then you are helping absolutely diddly-squat.
|Rosie Huntington Whitley: We get it. You always look good. #shutup|
Most of us have personal connections with cancer – sufferers, survivors, losses, likelihoods. It never stops being sad, it never stops being present. I like reading inspiring stories of cancer survivors, I sympathise with those who have lost loved ones. I like seeing the incredible activity that goes on in cancer’s name – marathons, moustaches, shaved heads, sobriety, unicycle rides... I’m endlessly proud of my friends and of strangers who donate so much time, energy and money. That’s why it kinda pisses me off when I see the odd #NoMakeUpSelfie that is pretending to do good, and is actually doing a whole lot of nothing. Personally, I think donating money to charities or fundraisers or friends’ marathons is a private matter, and publicising to the world how much money you have donated is a bit of a cry for being patted on the back. Yes, it may shame someone else into doing the same thing, which is a win, and charity money is charity money. But I am much more impressed by altruistic acts that have slipped by on the downlow, because it seems to me it was done for the most selfless purposes (though, to be fair, no charity donation can be called selfish). However, subtlety is not the point of a Facebook craze like #NoMakeUpSelfies.
|Love Your Sister's 'Support' Campaign, #wegive2bucks|
Luckily, for those ones who are posting the selfies and forgetting the donation, thanks to the wonderful people at Love Your Sister (Samuel Johnson and terminally ill sister Connie), a company called Money Now Official is offering to donate $2 for various ‘supportive’ selfies, where someone has to hold (i.e. “support”) their partners breasts (clothed, usually. It’s not a soft-porn shoot). The photos are more entertaining than seeing girls with no mascara, and if you can only manage the selfie part, the donation is done for you. Check it out here.
|The real 'selfie': Some clever kids are sharing these instead, excellent for 'awareness'.|
To clarify, I’m not having a go at people partaking in #NoMakeUpSelfies. Good on you – there are few people in my life who I allow to see me without my face on**. Some people are nailing it by agreeing to donate $1 for every 'like', or showing receipts of their generous donations, or sharing links and information that might actually raise awareness. The whole trend has resulted in millions of dollars for research worldwide. Hopefully, like me, it has lead to some women feeling themselves up in the shower, because they were reminded how to do a self-exam (a useful selfie!). So it's a great thing. Please, just remember, if you are going to jam my NewsFeed with selfies, at least make it count. And don’t use a filter.
* Cancer Council Australia is one of many Aussie companies who have benefitted from the selfies:
** The actual subject of 'women and makeup', societal pressures, and the fact that we are called 'brave' for going makeup-free is a whooooole different kettle of blogs, that I'm probably not smart or brave enough to talk about yet.
Cancer Council donate: http://www.cancer.org.au/get-involved/donate.html
Love Your Sister/Money Now ‘We Give 2 Bucks’: https://www.facebook.com/MoneyNow.Official
National Breast Cancer Foundation: http://www.nbcf.org.au/Support-Us/How-to-Donate.aspx
By Lucy Gransbury. Follow her on Twitter @LucyGransbury. Or follow her in real life. She is probably wearing make-up.
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