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The No Makeup Selfie: An Act of Vanity or a Worthwhile Cause?

The No Makeup Selfie: An Act of Vanity or a Worthwhile Cause?

It’s been a week since the #nomakeupselfie reared it’s ugly head (I’m sorry, I had to) and dominated social media with a cancer awareness campaign that has provoked reactions from support to disgust.

 Even celebrities such as Holly Willoughby have taken part in the campaign.

Even celebrities such as Holly Willoughby have taken part in the campaign.

The selfies, in which girls take photos of themselves barefaced to raise awareness of breast cancer, slowly started appearing on my Facebook newsfeed a week ago much to my amusement.  The girls in question were posed at the perfect angle with either a pout or a smile and a caption declaring their intent to raise cancer awareness.

Why barefaced? Okay I get that it has something to do with being brave, but it’s a bit of a loose connection if you ask me. I saw it as blatant narcissism disguised as raising awareness and frankly, it annoyed me. I’ve known people who’ve suffered from cancer in the past; I don’t know their opinion but I doubt they were too impressed with the ‘bravery’ of wearing no make-up while sufferers undergo another round of chemo. As for awareness, aren’t we all aware of the risk of cancer already?

Sufferers have spoken out to the media expressing doubt for the campaign. Tessa McIlwaine, 31, told Metro that people were missing the point: “If people just took the time to check their own bodies instead of photographing themselves in flattering lights and posting pictures online, they might end up luckier than I was. Shave your head, pluck out your eyelashes, lop off a favoured part of your anatomy, then you might get it. No makeup? Piece of piss.”

I wasn’t convinced that the online trend was helping anyone and plenty shared my sceptical opinion: Before I knew it comments were appearing on the offending selfies encouraging girls to donate as well as share their natural beauty. Screenshots of text donations soon accompanied all photos and a week later, £8million has been raised for Cancer Research UK.

I was proved wrong, but I still have mixed feelings about the whole thing. On one hand I can’t argue that the #nomakeupselfie campaign has been a success in terms of raising money for cancer research – the money will be used to fund 10 clinical trials - but on the other hand I do believe it all started with some girls who wanted an excuse to vainly show off their ‘natural beauty’ to the world of Facebook. Perhaps the campaign should be rebranded as raising money, rather than awareness, for cancer research.

On a lighter note, I will admit the #nomakeupselfie has entertained me thoroughly. I have definitely cackled in glee at some of the shockers that have popped up on my newsfeed (don’t pretend you haven’t either) and admired others in awe at their lack of need for makeup.

 I don't look so good in the morning.

I don't look so good in the morning.

Then of course, the unavoidable moment came when I too was nominated to post a no makeup selfie. I am not the selfie type – you might as well post a status saying, “I think I am seriously attractive and I want you all to know it”. However, in the name of charity I of course obliged, as pictured.

Despite the initial doubt from many, the #nomakeupselfie campaign has in the end become a success for charity. It has proven a perfect example of the power of social media and thankfully the ability of our generation to take something superficial and turn it into a worthwhile charitable cause. 

East Meets West in WC1: Scarfes Bar

East Meets West in WC1: Scarfes Bar

Poor Leo...

Poor Leo...