social media

No Make Up Selfie: Do it right or not at all

Selfies have been popular on social media for a while now, with millions of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram users uploading carefully posed for and perfectly filtered shots of their faces, with #se

Selfies have been popular on social media for a while now, with millions of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram users uploading carefully posed for and perfectly filtered shots of their faces, with #selfie captioning their faces. Considering the popularity of selfies, it’s absolutely no wonder that the #nomakeupselfie trend, which has recently been overtaking social networking sites, took off the way it did.

The basic premise is that women take a make-up free snap of themselves, upload it onto Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, pair it with the hastag ‘#nomakeupselfie,’ and donate X amount of money to a cancer charity, and then nominate someone else to do the same.

Cancer Research UK quickly clocked the popularity of this trend and immediately took to the Internet to respond, stating it wasn’t actually their idea but that they were grateful to have received so much support. Staff took their own bare-faced selfies and encouraged women to donate by texting ‘BEAT’ to 70077 or 70099.

An accomplishment or a lie?

Now, I don’t have a problem with anyone donating to a cancer charity. There’s speculation about what percentage of donations actually goes towards the charity, but as long as they’re receiving a decent amount which can contribute to research and treatment, then that’s fine by me.

According to the Cancer Research UK website: ‘As little as £2 a month could fund something as big as a new research centre or as small as glass slides to analyse cancer cells.’ If as little as £2 a month can do that, just imagine what the reportedly millions of pounds raised so far by this trend has accomplished!

My personal issue with this trend is that it’s meant to be encouraging people to donate to charity, whilst raising awareness about the seriousness of the disease, and what this money could do. I’ve seen between five-ten selfies a day on my Facebook feed of girls who are doing their bit. But are they actually doing their bit?

On one hand, jumping on the bandwagon and doing something that everyone else is doing could be perfectly justified by the fact it’s for charity. Giving money to charity is admirable, and contributing to such a good cause is a wonderful thing to do – so how could anyone find fault with this?

Simple. Because not all the #nomakeupselfies that are uploaded are simply put up for this noble cause. There’s a poorly-masked narcissism about these photos which makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable. Whilst I applaud anyone who’s trying to help a charity for something as serious and devastating as cancer, there are so many elements which make this actually a pretty offensive way to do it.

Firstly, it’s called a #nomakeupselfie because it’s meant to be without any make-up. That’s the point. Otherwise it would just be a regular photo of yourself with your full face on, smiling at the camera and making virtually no effort whatsoever.

You aren’t a hero with a selfie

Who would do that? Actually, quite a lot of girls. There’s something incredibly irritating and enraging about someone ‘shyly’ looking at you through layers of mascara and eyeliner with surprisingly blemish-free skin, blusher and perfectly drawn brows and having the audacity to pretend that not one cosmetic product has touched their face. Note: taking a bare-faced photo but then layering it with filters is just as bad.

It’s lying. Worse, it’s lying for compliments. It’s a blatant attempt to join in and be praised for being a good person AND shockingly pretty with ‘no make-up’ on. It’s like driving the Race for Life, walking the last metre and being praised like everyone else who’s made the effort.

Secondly, there’s the expectation of praise in the first place. You have not run a marathon. You have not swum, cycled, sky dived or done something that requires a lot of effort. You have taken a make-up wipe to your face and taken a photo, which requires about six seconds of your time.

Yes, it’s a brilliant thing to do in terms of raising money and awareness, particularly if you have a lot of insecurities about your face without make-up. But it does not make you a hero, and expecting glory for something that should be done with no want of it whatsoever just degrades the whole action. Likewise, uploading a bare-faced photo of yourself with a caption that is fishing for compliments also renders the whole thing unnecessarily narcissistic.

Finally, let’s not forget the point of the #nomakeupselfie. If you actually take an honest photograph, no make-up, no filters, no attention-seeking captions—let’s not forget that there’s one final thing needed to be done. Too many selfies I’ve seen have simply been entitled ‘my selfie for cancer.’

Your selfie is not FOR CANCER. It is TO RAISE AWARENESS AND ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO DONATE TO A CHARITY. If there is no inclusion of a way in which to donate and why you should, then you have not posted a #nomakeupselfie for cancer. You have posted a #nomakeupselfie for yourself.

I am not disputing that this campaign was a stroke of brilliance, and that it works. The fact that it makes a difference is undeniable, especially with the amount of money raised so far. My only stipulation is that people are doing it for the wrong reasons. Yes, we are fighting the war on cancer. But no, a selfie does not make you a hero.

If you’re going to partake in this, do it properly, or don’t do it at all.

Did you participate in the #nomakeupselfie trend? Have your say in the comments section below.