Warning: This is a bit of a ‘ranty’ post.
The latest craze to sweep the social media platforms is reported to have generated over £2million for cancer charities. It is, of course, the no make-up selfie. Like most internet crazes, it has also managed to generate its fair share of negative press. Many suggest it is making light of cancer and that the notion of being praised for donning no make-up is anti-feminist. It appears, in my opinion anyway, in terms of vocalising opinion, such
killjoys critics feel that being seen to scrutinise and deviate from the ‘norm’ is cool, hip or the done thing. However, regardless of what your views on the issue are, the figures raised are difficult to dispute. The simple fact is that £1million was raised in just over 24 hours. Regardless of the means used, is this not an incredible thing?
Breast cancer victims often lose their hair and breasts in their struggle; often times confidence diminishes with this. Therefore, however small the token, ditching the make-up, something which I and many other females have come to rely on as a confidence booster, is intended as a mark of respect for those undergoing such physical, emotional and mental anguish. I’m incredibly fortunate that I do not have any experience with the disease but that does not mean I’m incapable of sympathising. Those fighting cancer have my utmost respect and as a tiny token I decided to partake in the campaign. Does that mean I am a hero? Absolutely not. Yet I like to think I’ve made a small contribution. Hey, I throw my hands up; I doubted the significance of this campaign when it first appeared on my Facebook timeline. I could not see the correlation between posting a picture bare-faced and cancer cures. Then it hit me; the first step in awareness of any issue is to get people talking, and what better way than having usually made-up females looking less than their perfect selves? It sure seems to work with celebrities anyway. Haven’t the women’s magazines industry been abusing this methodology in selling their magazines for years? The first ten pages seem to be photographs of female celebrities with huge red rings circling the image to emphasise greasy hair or acne. Online articles also. Titles like, ‘Mila Kunis: The photos she doesn’t want you to see!’ Or hadn’t you noticed?
In the age of beauty and perfection, we have come to expect a certain standard of beauty and we get off on images of people looking less than perfect. It makes us feel better about ourselves. With an almost-voyeuristic element, it allows us to view things which we are not ‘supposed’ to see. It’s a novelty. Whatever you want to call it. It attracts attention. It sells. It works. So if by simply noticing my mugshot alongside the word cancer on their Facebook timeline urges one female to go get tested and detect cancer in its early stage, then the campaign has worked.
The next argument I wish to settle is one of a supposedly feminist philosophy. It claims that the campaign is far from brave in comparison to cancer, which I absolutely agree with. However, how does one simulate cancer? The fact is you cant. I have yet to see a selfie where the female in question is comparing herself to a cancer victim. Yes, brave may be choice word but why chastise every woman participating in the campaign because one female’s donation is exaggerated. The campaign is no different to the male Movemeber campaigns, yet it seems that much of the negativity has been spewed from men. I, for one, saw many male Facebook statuses saying things like, “Thank God for make-up! These selfies are scary”. It is these deeply offensive, patriarchal comments, which are telling of the state of our society and which make women feel they are brave in choosing to show themselves in their natural state. Chastise those who make such comments if you are to chastise anyone.
As woman who wears make-up every single day of my life, I admit to feeling sick while hovering above the ‘upload’ button. That shocked me. I pride myself in being a strong, forthright and unapologetic female yet I honestly felt scared in revealing myself as nature intended. Had I actually let make-up dictate my self-confidence that much? Absolutely. And that scared the crap out of me. As a female living in a patriarchal society, we’re taught to compete, criticise and discourage one another and here we are; united in admiring and supporting one another in the name of those women fighting a horrendous disease. Is that in itself not a beautiful and rare thing?
This is just a small blog occuping only a small percentage of space on the internet and so it wont change the world but I’d like to end this post on this note:
Slating those who participated in the campaign achieves nothing other than discouraging those who might have donated had you not criticised their intended efforts, so I’d advise anyone who have nothing positive to say, to heed something my Mother taught me: If you’ve nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.
But what would I know?
I’m just another sheep.