No make-up selfies… because it’s worth it!


About an hour ago, my best friend nominated me to do a no make-up selfie for Cancer Research UK.  Do I do it? Do I not?  Everyone seems to have an opinion on the matter and I wasn’t sure on mine, until my turn came and I did some reading.

For anyone who hasn’t been paying attention, no make-up selfies are the new Neck Nomination, directly drawing on the nomination structure, though for something much more worth while.  The idea has only become widespread in this past week.  Some have chosen to dedicate their “#makeuplessselfie” to somebody they know who have been directly affected, or are taken by people who have themselves had cancer.  Carolan Davidge of Cancer Research UK said earlier in the week: “The #nomakeupselfie Twitter trend isn’t something Cancer Research UK started but it’s great to see so many people getting involved to help raise awareness of cancer amongst their friends and family. If people would like to choose to support our work to beat cancer sooner, they can visit”

However, not everybody is happy about them.  Throughout the week I have seen and heard as many people complain about the selfies as taking them.  The argument tends to be along the line of “what’s the point?  You’re not going to save anybody’s life by taking your make-up off!”  Often, these people follow up their post with a screen shot of their donation to Cancer Research, because “that’s how a real change will be made!”  However, it is worth recognising that without said “pointless” selfies, the chances that they would donate at that time or talk about the issue is unlikely.  The other main criticism is that taking your make-up off seems trivial or superficial in contrast to the seriousness of the disease.  An article on the subject in the Independent this week dismissed the subject, stating that “thinly veiling vanity as philanthropy more than irks.”  Additionally, Yomi Adegoke, a feminist blogger, told BBC Radio 4 on March 21st that “it should not be viewed as ‘groundbreaking’ for women to go without make-up.”

Despite the criticisms, it is not entirely possible to condemn the no make-up selfie when you look at the results.  Although some have questioned why the participants haven’t donated rather than take a picture of themselves, it seems that this argument is flawed, as most people who have taken them have donated as well.  Despite the criticism flying about the social media sphere, Cancer Research UK has endorsed the movement, retweeting people’s selfies and discussing the impact.  On March 21st, the official Twitter stated: “@CR_UK: Your #nomakeupselfie pics are still going strong! Tune into @SkyNews at 5pm to hear how you’ve raised £2m to help us #beatcancersooner”.  To add to this, as the campaign has gained traction, over £1 million was raised in just 24 hours.  Nobody can deny that £2 million is an enormous amount of money to be raised in one week, by an online campaign, spread only by people nominating their friends and family to take selfies, which the charity did not even start.

The vast majority of people reading this will have known people who do or have had cancer of some kind.  For once, social media is being used in a progressive, productive way.  No make-up selfies are not intended to degrade anyone.  Let’s be honest, does anyone really care what others look like without make-up?  Of course not!  To me, at this point, they are purely continuing a train of people who have and will continue to donate, even if they do so because they think the selfies are pointless.  So, for this reason, I am going to take my selfie, donate and nominate two people who will hopefully continue the cycle. Make sure you donate now.

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