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Cancer awareness or self-awareness? The no makeup selfie is up for debate

Written by: and on March 21, 2014
Cancer awareness or self-awareness? The no makeup selfie is up for debate

The phenomenon of the ‘no make-up selfie’ has taken the internet by storm. Raveena Kaur and Rebekah Holland argue both sides of the argument; which side will you fall on?

                                                                  Using social media for the better

                                                                                     Raveena Kaur

Amidst the tide of various social media phenomenon this year – including the likes of those Neknominations – it is encouraging to see an internet trend that is aimed at promoting a good cause. For those that don’t know, the makeup-free selfie trend involves social media users uploading a picture completely bare-faced in an effort to raise money for charity.

These pictures are accompanied with the ‘#nomakeupselfie’ hashtag, as well as (in most cases) photographic evidence of their donation to charity. These posts also include nominations for their friends to do the same, thus creating a viral campaign. Cancer Research UK posted on Facebook this Thursday that they had already raised £1 million (and counting), with more than 800,000 donations being made.

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With an overwhelming amount of Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds being jam-packed with images of makeup-free females, these selfies have come under criticism. This has arisen with some users contending that these posts are just another chance for females to post vanity-ridden pictures online.

Although ‘selfies’ have a stigma of narcissism attached to them, this campaign has been able to subvert this negative association and change what would usually be regarded as an act of vanity into an act of charity. Many have posted pictures out of sentimental value for a loved-one lost to cancer, or to simply show their awareness for the cause.

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Young people continually face scrutiny by older generations for their lack of goodwill and charity in society. Despite being an unorthodox method to raise funds for charity, at least this way, the influence and power of Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites can be used positively. Cancer is most certainly a battle people are still fighting. If social media is being used as a modern day means to get the public to support those that suffer, this should indeed be celebrated.

                                                                     Fishing for compliments 

                                                                              Rebekah Holland

Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few days, you’ll have noticed that Facebook users have come out in full force once again to create a new viral trend. However, this isn’t your normal ‘neknomination’; this new phenomenon is claiming to help raise awareness for cancer through women posting bare-faced selfies with the #nomakeupselfie hashtag. Now it may just be me, but there appears to be some obvious flaws in this new craze.

lucy selfie

So, what does a woman posting a picture of her makeup-free face have in common with cancer? Not much that I can see – it looks like another excuse to adorn people’s timelines with pouting faces. It’s a sad result of the kind of society we live in that these women are being deemed ‘brave’. Surely it’s the men and women out there fighting cancer who we should be praising – they are making much more of a sacrifice.

The aim of this trend is to raise awareness for cancer; however, the only awareness it seems to be promoting in my eyes, is self-awareness. It appears to provide nothing but an ego boost to those who feel like they’ve made a difference by ditching their winged-liner. It’s also  becoming a competition with women curious about what other women look like makeup-free, as well as who can get the most ‘you look beautiful without any makeup’ compliments. It seems to me that to really raise awareness for cancer, we don’t need to post selfies; instead we need to donate, hold fundraisers, educate people on the symptoms of cancer and make the true statistics of cancer known.

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I’m aware that it has helped to raise money, but it hasn’t taught us anything we do not already know about cancer. Therefore, I urge you to refrain from bearing your naked face on Facebook and do something that is going to make a real difference instead.

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