I was approached by the lovely editors of Exepose Lifestyle to write a pro-argument for the 'no make-up selfie' campaign, after they received a pretty strong article against. In terms of my thoughts on the campaign, I was admittedly very conflicted. However, I felt this could play in my favour, when constructing my defence; I could be my own devil's advocate!
I will openly acknowledge that the principle behind the ‘no make-up selfie’ is flawed in part. Our society is becoming ever more superficial, with young people losing perspective of real issues. The idea of drawing comparisons to the bravery of fighting cancer, with the ‘courage’ of posting a picture sans ‘war paint’, is extremely shallow. No two ways about it. I am certain that far more ‘appropriate’ means of raising awareness and money existed; I believe this idea of a no-make up photo would have been more suited to a campaign such as Mind or B-eat, in promoting self-acceptance.
My no make-up 'selfie'...
Nevertheless, I have read many articles critiquing this ‘selfie’ campaign. The majority of them go on for paragraphs enraging over everything that is wrong with our society, condemning the campaign’s narcissism and shallowness. In my eyes, there is a slight irony here. As people are writing this, people are out there dying of cancer. They are writing about the outrage that people dared post a photo of themselves without make-up, to get comments over how ‘gorgeous’ they look. Okay, so maybe some people did find gratification in positive comments of themselves without make-up. But what did each person also do? They donated £3. Which turned into at least £9 through the nomination system. Which turned into… £8 million in six days.
Those are the facts. In six days since the campaign started, over eight million pounds was raised for Cancer Research UK. Eight million. Harpal Kumar, the chief executive of the charity, was quoted saying that this money has “enabled us to fund critical research… bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.” People can spend time criticizing the campaign, scrutinizing its message and criticizing its motives. However, is this going to translate into raising money for research? Is this berating of the society we live in going to physically save lives?
…and my donation
I admit that the growing narcissism and seeming dependency in our society drives me crazy. Having struggled with health issues myself, and having lost both my auntie and two grandmothers to Cancer, has given me a greater sense of perspective. I have and still do struggle with body image, particularly my 'round' face, but I in no way would ever suggest that posting a photo sans make-up and slight head tilt, is bravery on the level we are suggesting.
Nevertheless, I would far rather live in this slightly artificial world, and reduce the risk of losing those I love to this horrific disease. Coming just weeks after losing my grandmother to Cancer, it was particularly pertinent to me. Approaching it from this angle, I don’t see how anyone can logically criticise this campaign.
I am going to close my case with two simple facts. Cancer Research. £8 million.