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April, 07, 2014

#nomakeupselfie – narcissism masked as charity?


Name: Jack Fabian
Jack's Full Profile

The newest fad has just swooped down upon the internet… Beware the ‘Cancer awareness’ no make-up selfie. Now, I have no problem with anybody who has taken one so please do not take offense. The problem I have is with the idea of the picture itself.
 The very first selfie I saw with the caption ‘raising awareness for Cancer’, sent my eyes rolling so far back into my head I could see my brain.

No makeup selfie?

Photo By Michiel S

The pictures themselves do not raise awareness for Cancer. They are solely raising awareness of the fact that people are taking pictures without any make-up plastered to their faces. My issue is that people should be donating money alongside their pictures, thus causing an effect which helps charities and potentially, the race to fight Cancer. By donating money you are adding to the cause, by taking a picture you are merely reminding everyone that Cancer is a disease which needs to become curable. There does not need to be an ‘awareness’ raised that Cancer exists – it has existed since the dawn of time and people most definitely know that it exists, especially given the fact that around 1 in 3 people develop Cancer in one form or another. There need not be an awareness raised of anything in all honesty, other than the fact that money still needs to be pumped into the medicine machine which is science.

Photo By Z Egloff

Photo By Z Egloff

The majority of people who I have seen taking these vile (when I use the word vile, I mean because of their material value, not because of the face which appears in the photo) pictures, are teenage girls. These teenage girls are not donating money to Cancer charities, they are reaping rewards for themselves if anything, receiving compliments from all their online friends who are stating that the person in the picture is ‘beautiful without make-up’. Compliment fishing is wrong, not the pictures themselves.

GirlMakeup cropped

Photo By theglowingstars

The ‘Cancer awareness’ game has become just that, a game. People are even posting these pictures with the caption ‘you have 24 hours girls.’ Sorry, what?! 24 hours and that is the end of it, is it? After that 24 hour period the people who have been nominated are no longer to spread this so-called ‘awareness?’ – the basis of these pictures in the first place. Also, the fact that people are announcing that taking a selfie without make-up means they are, in some way, brave is incredibly troubling. It somehow mimics the struggle with Cancer to these pictures and equates a terrible disease to that of thirty seconds without some eyeliner. It debases the entire concept and in my opinion, makes a mockery of the intention behind these good-willed attempts at stay-at-home philanthropy.


Photo By Simon Wick

Also, if these pictures were totally about awareness then why are people choosing to exclude an entire gender? If awareness was the main goal, every individual of society needs to be targeted and a gender neutral campaign would have been initiated. Every gender experiences Cancer, not just females. It would be unfair and unjust to exclude the LGBT and black communities so why is it okay to discriminate against gender? Simple answer? It is not okay. If awareness is what people truly want, create something more tangible which can reach every individual, achieving optimal awareness.

So, what should you really be doing for the fight against cancer?

1. If you really want to do some good for charity, donate money, not a picture of yourself without make-up.

2. If you really do want to spread awareness, make sure to include that money needs to be donated. (I have not seen a single mention of money in any of the photographs which I have seen.)

3. If the awareness was such an important part of this online ‘campaign’, why not include as many people as possible? Try not to exclude an entire gender.

Cancerpatient cropped

Photo By Jess Sloss

Again, I do not have an issue with the pictures or the people who take the pictures, that is entirely their decision. My point is that if you want to feel good about yourself and truly do some good for the cause, please donate some money or ask others to donate money if you yourself cannot afford to. The last thing I want to do is take away the morality behind these pictures. I too have suffered with the loss of two incredibly close family members due to Cancer and believe that at the heart of this campaign, some good can be done. Thankfully, a huge number of people have actually donated and real progress has been made, for this aspect perhaps the selfies are, in fact, a good idea. Social media may have prevailed yet again. But remember; awareness does not need to be raised as much as money does.


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