I want to briefly offer my thoughts on the latest social media phenomena to hit my Facebook: the no makeup selfie that’s supposedly raising awareness for Breast Cancer.
Now I’m not against the idea. I just don’t really get it. I wouldn’t condemn anyone for taking part because I’m sure girls are getting involved with good intentions. But I can’t help but feel uncomfortable when I see the word selfie in the same sentence as cancer.
The significance of it being a no makeup selfie one would assume lies in the notion of it being a ‘brave’ thing to do. Even as a guy, I can appreciate that girls might not usually feel comfortable enough to publicise such a picture, one where they feel that they might not look at their best. This a great shame, but a reality when we live in a world where even profile pictures are filtered and photoshopped. Okay, so sharing no makeup selfies is a good thing because it promotes naturalness and encourages girls to be more comfortable in their skin. Great.
But this isn’t the reason why girls are taking these pictures. They are being taken in the name of Breast Cancer. This is where I find an issue. How can anyone consider taking a no makeup selfie a ‘brave’ thing to do in juxtaposition with the suffering cancer causes? Maybe I’ve missed the point here, but why else would women choose to support other women in this way? A selfie to me connotes vanity and attention seeking, but is more importantly just a bit of fun. It seems hardly appropriate to associate any of these things with Breast Cancer. Feel free to disagree with me, but I can’t help but feel that the whole thing unintentionally belittles a serious issue.
There is one other aspect of this phenomena that baffles me. With the greatest respect to sufferers and their friends and family, of all the life threatening diseases, Breast Cancer is surely the one we are most aware of. Is there anyone who sees one of these selfies pop up on their Facebook and actually feels more aware of the issue? Offering support to the cause is obviously a positive thing, everyone would agree, to the extent that writing a status declaring such seems unnecessary. Surely what Breast Cancer charities need is monetary funding, not empty words. A no makeup selfie that raises awareness has little impact – should it not be, if anything, a sponsored selfie?
Social media can be a brilliant means of spreading important messages and addressing issues, but I think on this occasion good intentions have been misconstrued. Perhaps no real harm has been done and I hope so. But I also doubt any real good is being achieved either. The no makeup selfie is certainly a better phenomena than the neck-nomination anyway. May social media continue in this promising direction and refine its efforts to bring about positive change.