Friday, 21 March 2014

Another weekend without makeup...

I woke up yesterday morning to see my social media feeds flooded with opinions about the 'no makeup selfie' challenge that has stormed Facebook over the past few days. It's caused such a huge rift of opinions, but it seems that everybody's coming round to the idea because it has been so incredibly, if unexpectedly, successful. This isn't a usual topic for my blog, but it's something I wanted to write about today to help spread the word...


Personally, even though at this point any photograph of a woman with no make-up on any news feed automatically poses the question 'have you donated yet?', initially the images that I saw didn't contain any links to donation sites, or even captions to do with cancer or the Sophie's Choice petition (to lower the age of the smear test) - it felt like another social media trend, a Neknomination ('you have 24 hours!') all loosely based on the theme that 'it's for cancer.' It bothered me because although all social-networking is ultimately a vehicle for vanity and self-promotion, it felt like most of the images being posted were much more about getting a 'wow, that's seriously you without any makeup on?!' rather than a 'that was brave, this gives a real sense of unity and encourages me to donate.' This was simply because they weren't captioned, they didn't include any information that raised awareness, and I thought that they were so far removed from actual charities that they wouldn't benefit them in any way. Sans-donation, these photos seemed like a way to provide self-gratification without actually doing anything good at all, or at least that's how it seemed.

However, following a rather fast backlash people began including these vital links and now any photos of girls going au naturel (or indeed of guys with makeup, which I for one would like to see more of) come with automatic subtext telling you that this person has donated, and that's really important. The movement has sparked conversations about breast cancer and caused a huge spike in donations which is just brilliant. Ultimately this has been a successful social media campaign because loved or loathed it's being talked about and it's working because donations are rising.

I still understand completely that nobody should feel compelled to join in, and that some donate to charity regularly anyway, whilst others would prefer to volunteer or be sponsored to take part in a challenge or simply just donate rather than take a selfie which ultimately has nothing to do with cancer (although these bare-faced photos - though their subject is still technically unrelated because do people with cancer stop wearing makeup?! - have become an unlikely symbol of support.) I also feel I have to rescind my initial reservations about these selfies being to do with vanity - because I'm now posting one myself and it's not something I feel confident about in the slightest.

Initially I liked the way that this trend challenged beauty norms, because I got to see how naturally beautiful all the women on my news feed are without makeup. A lot of people have commented that people look better without it. For me this is a sensitive subject - sometimes I wish I'd never started wearing makeup, just because I can't stand to be without it (I realise that's a silly thing to say as somebody who blogs about beauty products) but it's something I'm so dependent on and that makes me feel bizarrely dishonest. It's not just about personal expression, which is why I bother with the fancy bits - the winged liner, the red lipstick - for me it first and foremost provides a sense of camouflage.

When I first was nominated for a no-makeup selfie, my initial thought was that all my photo was going to raise awareness of was a lifetime of skin problems and what happens when you draw the short straw in the genetic lottery. Without it I notice all the things that ordinarily I try and hide: the pale brows and lashes from fair colouring, and more than anything, marks from years of fighting with my own skin. I'm so used to winged eyeliner and mascara that my eyes are almost unfamiliar without it. I look at the offensive, meant-to-be-funny memes that people are uploading on Facebook and relate them to myself, because I have become accustomed to hiding everything I don't like to the best of my ability. But, just like the Dermablend campaign, people are being brave and showing their true selves, and although I've not seen any one girl on my news feed who I feel has anything to hide, anything not to love, I still wanted to put my own picture out there just to show that I can, that I'm trying to overcome something that has impacted my life for so long, and to show some unity in a cause that is actually doing amazingly well.

I've seen such controvery about this on my social media news feeds: arguing leading to actual unfriending on Facebook (wow!!) as well as stories of loved ones saved because of quick diagnosis, or sadly lost due to lack of awareness. It's so important to get these lumps and bumps checked, and if you find anything please get it checked out because it could save your life. I can tell you from my own experience that it's incredibly scary waiting to know if a lump or bump is anything to worry about, but it's scarier to leave it, hoping it goes away. Here are some signs you can look for:


If you are in a position where you can donate, it'd be great to contribute to the cause. You can donate £3 to breast cancer research by texting 'CURE' to 70660. Alternatively, you could donate to a cancer that has affected you or your family, or sponsor somebody like I did. Cancer affects every one in three people, and if you don't know anybody who's been affected then you are both incredibly lucky and in a very rare position. Finally, please sign the Sophie's Choice petition - it's so important to get the age of the smear test lowered and it takes all of 30 seconds to add your name to the list.

Sorry, a bit of a long post and a rather serious one at that, but some causes are just too important not to get behind. Let me know if you've donated, and what are your opinions on the selfie campaign?

11 comments:

  1. I've donated and have sponsored my friend as she's doing a skydive for a cancer charity next week. I don't quite understand how the no make-up selfie has anything to do with raising awareness for cancer, but I'm glad that it's got people talking and hopefully some of the people who were all about posting the vain selfie photos in the first place are going back and adding the link information for the campaign and hopefully even donating themselves.

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    1. I agree that I don't understand how they relate, but they have now become related nonetheless and I don't think anyone expected this to be quite so successful. I know at least one person on my feed who included no information later went back and added information, most others who have done it have taken pictures both of themselves and a screenshot of their text donation, AND a link to a cancer charity. Looks like we're all getting quite good at this PR stuff! ;) xxx

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  2. Such a great post thank you for writing!
    I totally agree - at first no one taking these selfies was donating, it wasn't until people starting asking how they were actually helping that people started donating, and getting bitchy and sarky with it. So it's great that people are donating but I still hate how it's based on this vanity! Unfortunetely I know the people on my facebook (haha) and know what kind of girls they are so I know it's mainly a "oohh look at me without make up, aren't I pretty" ugh it's annoyed me so much! I haven't spoken out about it cos people are so stubborn haha xx

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    1. Hahah see luckily I knew that no one was going to think that about mine so I feel I can post this without people accusing it of being out of misplaced vanity. I know initially people got quite defensive about their photos and how it's fine to do it for awareness without donating - for me personally, the two should really go hand in hand, but that's just my opinion. xxx

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    2. I completely agree with your post! The amount of 'no make up' selfies I've seen without showing that they've donated made me think "why are you really doing this?", surely it had nothing to do with their support for cancer awareness. I didn't bother with the selfie, I've been donating the charity for a while! F**K VANITY!

      Halima
      Fashionicide

      xo

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  3. This is a great post, Hannah! I'm not quite sure what make-up-less selfies have got to do with cancer, either. Are we trying to look and feel vulnerable as if it's any comparison to what cancer sufferers are going through?? Are we trying to do something that fills us with dread simply to do something good for someone else? I can't quite figure it out. I'm sure there are better ways of raising awareness, but at the same time, I guess it's got us all talking! It's a big deal to so many women to be seen without make up on, and it's great if people are doing something scary for a good cause and actually donating, but not if they're just after attention! Luckily, most of the women on my FB timeline have been including the number and donating. I still need to share my selfie and donate; the thought is filling me with dread! I don't look great fresh-faced. But I will do it. I lost a Grandad to lung cancer, my dad's had skin cancer twice, and my other Grandad has had one, but I forgot which kind. (I want to say bowel cancer). My sister's best friend died of breast cancer a couple of years ago in her 30s- her Mum also died or it, too- and I know so many people who've lost relatives and friends to it, or battled it themselves. It really does affect every person in some way, and I'm all for helping these charities. I could just do without the attention-seeking girls who know they're gorgeous and want people to tell them so. LOL. Most people do look just as lovely fresh-faced, and you're one of them! I know posting the photo was a big deal for you, so well done and good for you! :D xx

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    1. Haha - yeah, this - "I could just do without the attention-seeking girls who know they're gorgeous and want people to tell them so" but that might just be because I'm jealous ahah! I'm sorry to hear it's affected so many people you know, it must be such an ordeal. Your points of why we're sharing these pictures is valid and maybe that is why, the main thing is that it's working though and I read this morning that we've raised £2 million which is pretty crazy! Thank you though, it means a lot :) xxx

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  4. I completely relate to this post - I think it's great how much awareness it's raising, and I'm really proud of some of my friends, who I know aren't the most confident of their looks, who have risen to the challenge and posted a bare-faced picture. But on the other hand, I feel like a lot of girls are just using it as an excuse to get compliments on how great they look, even without makeup - lot's of them aren't even donating or putting links like you said, and some people are even blatantly wearing makeup in their selfies! I myself have been nominated, but I'm not really confident enough to put up a picture of myself wearing absolutely no makeup, and I feel like the whole 'You have 24 hours' thing puts a lot of pressure on people to do it, even if they're really insecure. If people are doing it for real and donating at the same time, then good on them, but I'd rather see people just donating rather than fishing for compliments...

    By the way, you look stunning as usual in that picture - well done for being brave enough to put it up, I know I certainly wouldn't be!

    Megan xo
    http://mynamesmegan.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Megan! I agree with your opinion completely - a few that I saw initially had no links to donation sites, and had filters or sly makeup. For me, that defeated the point, with this kind of thing I figured it was all or nothing so resisted the urge for filters. (I think I do have remnants of eyeliner smudged underneath, but that's just poor eye makeup removal and only serves to make me look tired and worse than ever ahah.) I understand completely about the confidence thing though, and a couple of months ago I literally couldn't have done this. So the positivity means a lot - I wasn't posting this for self-gratification or assurance, but I did want to challenge myself and take part in this, not even 100% for the relevance but just to prove to myself that I can! I've not taken part in Lent this year so maybe this is my self-punishment haha. Completely understand that nobody should feel obligated to take part, though - a few months ago I honestly couldn't have done this and it's all about personal choice. Luckily the majority of pictures I've seen have been really honest (not to mention gorgeous) and included a donation, and that's what I like to see :) xxx

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  5. Great post Hannah! I really need to get back into blogging. I donated a bad full of things to my local cancer research because I thought that way they can make more out of it. Up to about £25 per bag apparently. I was actually stopped by a cancer research campaigner on the way and he fist bumped me for doing it.
    I have realised there was a petition, so that's now been signed.
    I think, or at least I hope, that the no make up selfie is more about doing something beautiful than vanity. Xx

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    1. Thank you Stacey! That's a really good idea, I also donate a fair bit to charity shops... I always have intentions to do blog sales but honestly I'm way too lazy. Kudos for signing the petition too, I think that cause is so important.
      I hope it's about more than vanity too. There's certainly no vanity in mine, as I can't stand the sight of it ahah, but I kind of liked the challenge of having the balls to post it anyway. We're all human after all. xxx

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