Click HERE for a podcast in which Rhodders debates this topic.
I find the whole “no makeup selfie” thing rather bizarre. I am all for people giving money to a fund for trying cure a horrible disease and the no makeup selfie trend has resulted in over two million pounds being raised for Cancer Research UK within 48 hours. Great! Surely the ends justify the means, so what’s the problem? The problem is, it has nothing to do with the cause. You learn nothing about cancer from this campaign.
As far as I can work out, the original “photograph of one’s face taken without wearing makeup” (I find the term “selfie” grates after a while) was taken by a Nottingham woman undergoing treatment for an aggressive cancer. The woman had lost all of her hair as a result of her treatment. The original emphasis seemed to be about the fact she took the photograph without her wig. Makeup, or the lack of it, simply does not seem to have been the key issue. Boldly baring one’s baldness publicly is a brave thing to do and could be seen to empower the silent suffering of so many cancer patients. When people ask for sponsorship to shave their hair for cancer awareness it makes sense. The act shows empathy towards cancer sufferers while raising money. How this suddenly became about makeup, I am unable to work out. This campaign apparently started organically, although usually when things happen apparently “spontaneously” on the Internet, there is usually some monolithic ad agency behind it all. However this “campaign” was started up, seems a bit misguided. It would seem that once a few people do something, the herd that is humanity obediently gets out their phones and follows suit. These pics might be posted with the best intension, but I find them vain and annoying. Donating to charity, broadly speaking is a kind act but doing it publicly with a big grin on your face is smug and needy. I am also not comfortable with the nomination aspect of the campaign, where you effectively peer pressure a friend to do likewise. I suspect many people have gone along with the campaign for fear of people thinking that not to participate would be an affront to cancer sufferers.The message of the campaign is confusing. Many supporters of the campaign rejoice in it as “liberating women”. Hang on a minute? I thought this was about cancer? The use of make-up and the image of women in our society is an important debate but it just doesn’t seem appropriate to try and bolt it on to a cancer fundraiser. It is a separate issue.
This is another instance of the stunt element of a campaign taking over and distracting from the original purpose. When rowing about this on Facebook, a friend supporting the “no makeup selfie” craze made the comparison with Movember. This was a testicular and bowel cancer awareness drive where men ask for sponsorship to grow outlandish facial hair. The trouble is that there are people who are unaware of the link between Movember and cancer awareness and think it is all just done for a laugh.
I feel obliged to point out that “no makeup selfies” excludes (most) men. Last time I checked, cancer still affects men. Most men don’t wear makeup. In response there has been a spin-off fad of men posting “makeup selfies”. I think it safe to say that at this point things are getting silly. Looking down at my phone I can now see that ridiculous reactionaries are now posting pictures of themselves with rolls of Sellotape wrapped round their heads. Yes it’s called the Sellotape selfie and it doesn’t have anything to do with anything! Of course its nice that a lot of money has been raised but I think there has to be a better way to educate people about cancer then a “no makeup selfie”.