Alex Mitchley
3 minute read
3 Apr 2014
1:59 pm

Vanity overtakes charity in no-makeup-selfie craze

Alex Mitchley

This new no-makeup-selfie-for-cancer trend splashed all over my Facebook wall has left me gobsmacked. Why? Because I don’t recognise many of these girls, and since when is a failed attempt at vanity the heroine?

The no-makeup selfie is an attempt at raising awareness about and money for cancer. A valiant task indeed, but unfortunately the integrity and righteousness of it all is lost as it becomes tainted with self-importance.

As these selfies appear on my news feed it is an ambivalent experience, to say the least. I say ambivalent because it is a frightful experience not recognising a girl whom you have known for years, but also a breath of fresh air to see their actual beauty.

I can’t believe you have been hiding under that mask. Must be lonely in there.

I would not notice half of you in a public environment without your face lathered in a thick bed of conformity, and for what it’s worth the overkill of makeup is not attractive in the least; you look like a Jersey Shore candidate or sidewalk entrepreneur.

Furthermore, and more importantly, it infuriates me that many of these photos mention the campaign against cancer but do not bother adding a link to a page, group or organisation that focuses on raising awareness, or where one can donate towards the cause.

The absence of these vital components of a successful campaign leads me to believe one thing: for many of these women this is merely another pseudo-justified attempt at vanity, thinly disguised as an act of compassion, support and sympathy.

It’s a chance to jump on the bandwagon and get attention while doing so.

Yes, it is a noble attempt at creating awareness, and has done so to a certain degree. I also understand that money has been raised, which can never be a negative thing.

But here is what I don’t understand.

Firstly, I cannot fathom how not wearing makeup and taking photos of what should be a societal norm correlates with cancer and those suffering from this disease.

Secondly, people have failed to see that this may imply that not wearing makeup is in some way demonstrating the same amount of bravery as those battling cancer. This is obviously ludicrous.

This is a bit of a side issue, but this no make-up campaign is a movement that indirectly states that a woman revealing her unpainted face to the public is a colossal event completely out of the norm.

Isn’t this simply reinforcing one of the core values of patriarchy?

Thirdly, why are people not doing something a little more daring than not wearing makeup? I suppose it is equivalent to asking men to not shave for a day. How incredibly challenging is that?

What this selfie-for-cancer phenomenon does is place the focus on the person who poses for the photo as opposed to the cause, and by the looks of things many have accomplished their goal of gaining attention.

So essentially all we have is a bunch of naked faces posing for a purer form of narcissism scattered all over Facebook, for a cause that was not thought of much at all or forgotten as soon as the torrent of ‘likes’ started streaming in.