No Makeup Selfies Mean Little to Long Run Charity Causes

No Makeup Selfies

Everyone is doing it, and if they are not doing it they are being lambasted by critics for being uncharitable – the no makeup selfies craze is the ultimate in transient guilt trips. It only takes seconds to do and the donation is a mere three pounds so what possible excuse could anyone have for not taking part and showing support for such a good cause? It has now even branched out with a male version “manupandmakeup” encouraging men to don lipstick and powder before posting their photo and donation on social media outlets in order to raise awareness of prostate cancer. The craze is still going strong and has raised over two million for the charity in question, Cancer Research UK. Yet as critics have already pointed out, while it may be an enlightening look at some women’s real faces, the trend does not actually do much to raise awareness of Cancer Research, what they do, or the individual diseases themselves. However, there is a much bigger problem with the no makeup selfie and that is the fact that it is symbolic of the deeply entrenched materialistic, short-term, self-obsession that is latent within society. The bottom line is no makeup selfies mean little to charity campaigns and causes in the long run.

For a start, throwing money at any cause has rarely gotten the world anywhere – people have been donating to all sorts of charities, causes and initiatives for years and yet no tangible progress is ever made. For instance, although the World Bank Group states that real progress has been made in terms of global poverty over the last 30 years, the number of impoverished individuals has actually risen. It seems to be a dance that just goes round in circles as for every progression there is an equal and opposite regression of some kind. But people do not question where their money is going, how it is being used or the effects it is supposed to have on the issue in question. They take a photo, send off three pounds, get loads of people to like their photo on Facebook and carry on their merry way thoroughly convinced they can now don the mantle of the Good Samaritan without pause for thought. The problem is they don’t want to really get involved; they don’t want to have to deal with the uncomfortable nature of the facts that will confront them.

To be clear, if someone wanted to end world poverty or support equality in all areas of life (gender, sexuality, class, opportunity etc.), if they wanted to make sure that they were in no way implicated in the terrible practices that lead to countries relying or eliciting charity from Western Society, then they would never participate in something as trivial and as transient as a trend on Facebook or Twitter. Because being committed to wanting change and helping that change come about, requires effort and commitment to a cause that extends a lot further than a posting a bare-faced photo online. The foundation of the trend is just an attempt to ease the global conscience in relation to charitable issues that people don’t have time for on a day-to-day basis. Everyone wants everything faster, cheaper, bigger, better, and they don’t want to acknowledge how these expectations are accommodated as the accompanying reality does not make for palatable conversation.

The other big problem with this craze is the rampant need for recognition and instant gratification that modern society thrives on. If someone wants to help Cancer Research or any other charity for that matter, there is no need to boast about it all over the internet, there is no need to expect a pat on the back or for every Twitter follower/Facebook friend that clicks “like” or “retweet”. No-one does anything for nothing, and this no makeup selfie trend has almost nothing to do with raising awareness of cancer and almost everything to do with raising people’s own sense of personal worth and their idea of themselves as philanthropists. Even before women all over the country started wiping furiously at their faces with makeup remover or men started pouting scarily for the camera in a dashing shade of luscious melon, people were well aware of cancer. As a disease it is probably one of the most well-known and most feared diagnoses a doctor could deliver.

So instead of following the crowd and jumping on the bandwagon of no makeup selfies before swiftly jumping off and forgetting about the long haul journey ahead for the charities, perhaps people should set their sights on a more beneficial form of support. While Cancer Research UK were all too happy with a campaign they had no hand in creating, they were quick to point out that if people were interested in helping they should visit the official website and look further into what options are available. Of the thousands of people who have posted pictures of themselves either with or without their slap, what is the reckoning on how many of them actually followed through and got more involved? The fact is that in the long run the no makeup selfies mean very little to these charities and the causes they support, as at the end of the day not everything is about image or money. So if people want to get more involved there is an endless list of things they could do from donating old clothes to charity stores, volunteering at cancer research events or initiatives or reading up on the disease and posting something more useful than a self-indulgent photo thinly disguised as charitable support.

By Rhona Scullion
@Rhona Scullion

The Independent
The Telegraph
The World Bank

3 Responses to "No Makeup Selfies Mean Little to Long Run Charity Causes"

  1. Rhona Scullion   March 28, 2014 at 4:12 am

    Although it is great that so much money has been raised you should perhaps be aware of a few things.
    Firstly, many people did not read the instructions properly and ended up donating to different charities, some accidentally adopting a polar bear, some sending their money to Unicef. They are working on sorting out how to get the money back to Cancer Research so it should be fine, however I think this illustrates my point about the fact that people put about as much thought into this as they do into making a cup of tea. It should also be noted that while money is an excellent source of aid to the charity the medical trials it funds are in no way guaranteed to provide any solutions or advancements at all.
    I am sure people had excellent intentions with this trend and I am happy that a cause which is incredibly personal to me as well is getting publicity, but I disagree with the fact that people are comparing make up removal with the vulnerability felt by millions of cancer sufferers who lose their hair, their health and often their dignity while battling the disease.
    In answer to what my own contribution has been, let me assure you I have worked unpaid in charity shops, I regularly donate clothes, books and other goods to a variety of causes and I have helped look after family members who have gone through cancer more than once. As a result I have a frankly horrifying personal understanding of the symptoms of cancer, the treatment and the long lasting impact it has on the persons health should they manage to recover. I have also subsequently done a lot of research into the causes and genetic factors involved with a cancer diagnosis.
    I am not in the habit of writing uninformed articles and I sincerely resent that such an important issue has been trivialized to such an extent as to be on a par with posting a no makeup selfie taken in flattering light and designed to elicit confirmation of the persons beauty and charitable nature.

  2. Mafia   March 26, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I believe it has been reported that this campaign has raised over 8 million pounds in 6 days, a remarkable achievement and one that will very much aid research into the blight that affects so many women these days. Good on you girls, well done.

    In the light of this tawdry, mean-spirited piece of faux-feminist nonsense, all those who took part can console themselves knowing that they have contributed more to aid fighting cancer than the author, I would be interested to know just which of the endless list of things she cites that she chose to do for her personal contribution.

    As for this, “The fact is that in the long run the no makeup selfies mean very little to these charities and the causes they support, as at the end of the day not everything is about image or money”; well, I think in the context of research funding, this must be one of the most inane statements I have come across.

    There seems to be a very dismissive attitude to the many thousands of ordinary folk who have collectively crowd-funded the research program and, to my mind they should be applauded, rather than treated with the contempt shown in the above piece.

  3. Caleb Storkey   March 24, 2014 at 10:29 am

    I hear your point Rhona about the need for people to get more involved in the deeper ways to support Charities. And it’s all to easy to have a lack of ongoing commitment to what’s needed.

    But I thought these no-make-up selfies were brilliant. There’s been loads of talk about how it missed the point, doesn’t solve cancer (no really), and generally negative reasons why it was such a bad idea.

    The way I look at it is that women were able to celebrate their faces without feeling the need to look a certain way. Where’s there’s so much pressure in the opposite direction I think that’s a great idea. I was moved to tears knowing the stories of some of those who shared and found it really hard to do so.

    It’s easy for us to be cynical, but I think it’s a good one to celebrate. So yes to long term involvement but yes also for the additional benefits that a move like this can make.


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