#NoMakeupSelfie or Selfish?

UK exchange student Rebecca Males weighs in on the #NoMakeupSelfie social media trend.

UPDATE 9.10pm: More than £2 million donated as part of #NoMakeupSelfie was sent to UNICEF rather than Cancer Research UK after the wrong text keyword was distributed across social media, reports the BBC. Read more here.

The #NoMakeupSelfie. It’s been plaguing your Facebook feed for the past week, and all of a sudden everyone’s very keen to show the world what they look like with no make-up.

Yes, I admit, this has been mildly annoying, but can we just stop for a second and appreciate the fact that this craze has raised over $4 million for cancer charities worldwide? When did a bake sale ever raise $4 million? (Not to demean a bake sale, I love a good bake sale).

Where did it come from?

No one’s completely aware of where the campaign came from; cosmetics site escentual.com hosted a ‘#DareToBare’ campaign in September 2013 with a very similar notion. However, the big difference with #DareToBare is that the women were sponsored.

The Pros & Cons

This campaign has been fuelled by our own narcissistic preoccupations, manifested within social media

But for me, really, the pros do outweigh the cons in this situation by about four million.

I’m not claiming there is anything courageous or brave about going bare faced, I certainly don’t think it is anything compared to what cancer sufferers actually go through. Nor do I think there is any link between no make-up selfies and cancer. However, for many girls (in the UK especially), it’s very, very strange to be leaving the house without make-up, let alone take a picture. So in that sense, if they have done something mildly discomforting and it’s made someone take a second glance, maybe donate, good on them.

Yet on the other hand, this campaign has been fuelled by our own narcissistic preoccupations, manifested within social media, and been set alight by pack mentality.

It’s hard to take a campaign seriously when the girls are not only losing their make-up, but losing their clothes. Take British model Amy Willerton, for example:

Amy Willerton's own barefaced selfie, taken in her bath. Miss Willerton defended the trend, saying that anything that promoted awareness and raised money for charity was a good idea

‘Model’, Amy Willerton, 21

I took a selfie in the bath, posted it online and it got a lot of attention which is good.

I don’t feel I was particularly courageous doing it, but it’s a good message to send out there.

Women are exposing themselves and showing that more vulnerable side in the same way that we’re all vulnerable to cancer. 

– Amy Willerton, BBC Today, 21 March 2014

Really? Yes, you did get a lot of attention. That’s because you are naked. And justifying it by putting ‘For Cancer!’ under it – maybe if you lost the caption, this would have been fine. But at the moment, it’s promoting young girls to upload risqué selfies and justify it in the name of charity. And Willerton thinks that is a good message. This is the one part of the trend I hate.

On the other hand, the sort of publicity around people like this has put momentum into the campaign and allowed it to reach where it is right now – so yes, even though it’s a trend fueled by the love of our own reflection, can we not look past that to see the good that it’s doing?

But this is the 21st century and if that’s what’s making the money, let’s roll with it.

I found it pretty damn hard to argue with that, and so up mine went. Rebecca poses for a no make-up selfie

No, there isn’t a link between selfies and charity. However, there also isn’t a link between bake sales or fun runs and charity. But this is the 21st century and if that’s what’s making the money, let’s roll with it.

Speaking of rolling with it… you might have to keep rolling a little longer. Get ready for the #cocksinsocks and #makeupselfies as the boys get in on the action as well.

Just like Kony and Psy, this will end up where all trends go to die, but the difference with this is that it has raised heaps of cash for Cancer research.

Although I didn’t initially agree with the #NoMakeupselfie, you can’t disagree with £2 million raised in 48 hours – that’s just over $3 and a half million AUD. Regardless of motives, that’s a result.

Internationals can donate at justgiving.com, but really it’s in aid of all cancer charities, regardless of the country.

So get over it and either do or donate.