The ‘no makeup selfie’ craze seems like narcissism masked as charity. Why not donate instead?

If the trend truly is about raising awareness, everyone should at least include a link to a cancer charity


Recently, many Facebook users will have found their feeds subject to even more selfies than usual (and for most, that’s a serious amount of selfies). But these are selfies with a difference. Selfies with a cause. No ordinary selfies. Women in their droves have been uploading fresh faced snapshots in a bid to raise cancer awareness, and by simply exchanging the run-of-the-mill #nomakeup #nofilter hashtag with a caption much more humanitarian, an ordinary selfie now becomes an ordinary selfie masquerading as fundraising attempt.

The reason the ‘no makeup selfie’ trend consistently gets under abstainers' Dream-Matte-Mousse-soaked-skin isn’t because it doesn’t mean well. We’re sure many participants genuinely believe a warts and all Instagram accompanied with a feeble ‘My no makeup selfie for cancer awareness xx’ caption, has somehow roused a cousin twice removed to visit the Cancer Research site and donate their savings in entirety. But thinly veiling vanity as philanthropy more than irks. The entire thing smacks of the Beyoncé "I woke up like this" arrogance social media has seen us become so accustomed to. From superfluous ‘no filter’ reminders to boasts of being bare faced in a profile pic, the pretence these images are for anything other than an onslaught of ‘natural beauty’ acclamations, coupled with pats on the back for ‘fighting the cause’ makes the no makeup selfie mania even harder to stomach.

If the craze is truly about the cause, why not ditch the Marie Claire and donate to Marie Curie this month? Or seek sponsorship for shirking the MAC? Why not raise genuine awareness through posting admittedly less-sexy cancer stats and symptoms, as opposed to a slightly blurred picture of your best au naturel benevolent pout? Or how about just simply uploading the snap and not skipping out on donating to a cancer charity afterwards? At the very least a simple link to the site of a cancer charity accompanying the self aggrandizing captions would make the whole farce more tolerable.

Even if Macmillan donations do increase because of a few no-slap snaps and conversation about cancer is fostered, so much more can be done with this fad than tagging a few friends and forgetting all about it all soon after. We must truly ask ourselves - what has an image of someone’s unmade up face done for the fight against cancer, that the thousands of other pictures of their made up faces haven’t? This could have been equivocal to Movember ("Makeup-free March" - wasn’t hard, was it?) or Dry January for the non drinkers, but in its current state it simply doesn’t cut it. Much of the flack the NekNomination craze received could have been easily evaded, had nekkers asterisked *to raise awareness for prostate cancer*, but at least they remained true to their reason for partaking; showing off.

You can’t help but wince at the fact uploading a picture of what you actually look like is now being deemed ‘brave’, especially when being held up against cancer. And on realising the movement was actually initiated by author Laura Lippman, who uploaded a photo of her bare face in solidarity with actress Kim Novak after she was criticised for her looks at the Oscars earlier this month, you can’t help but feel as though someone has simply taped ‘Cancer Awareness’ on a premade bandwagon, without any intention to aid the fight. The only ‘awareness’ it seems to be promoting is self. Despite good intentions it’s coming across as smug and self congratulatory, for doing very little and let’s be honest - if you’re not donating, what are you doing bar seeking praise for having the cojones to ditch the contour?

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