Unlike the previous craze of the #neknomination, the last couple of days has seen our news feed becoming inundated with the #nomakeupselfie. I hadn’t initially heard of it as an official campaign, and that’s because it wasn’t (official that is). In fact, Cancer Research aren’t too sure how the craze began, but one thing is for certain – they certainly are not complaining about it. Over £2 million was raised in the first 48 hours! A phenomenal amount of money that unquestionably, will be put to good use by Cancer Research UK.
Sali Hughes – A columnist for The Guardian, has written a hugely insulting and gratuitous attack in reference to the campaign. So enraged by her perspective that I feel it entirely necessary to present a counter argument. Not just as I am a writer and happened to bare my face on the internet for all to see, but I do feel that I am in quite a good position to present this campaign, official or not, in an entirely different light.
I was a fundraiser for years, in fact, it was my first job after graduating from university, so I know just how difficult it is to get ask people for their hard-earned cash. If a campaign like this fell on my doorstep, that raised this kind of money on social media, I would have wept with joy and exclaimed how my faith in the human race has been renewed. The same way you feel when someone drops their wallet and a kindly passer-by decides to hand it in, rather than run up extortionate credit card bills on Amazon.
I also, like millions of others know people who have had, have lost their battle to, or are currently undergoing treatment for cancer. It still affects so many people, which is why Cancer Research isn’t just a charity that is doing something great, it’s a charity that is doing something fundamentally important. If £2 million was raised in 2 days from people who are donating and spreading the word – then why on earth would you attempt to belittle it as something that ‘asked for no useful contribution, no meaningful action, just a sort of lazy armchair reaction’? I’m sorry Sali, but for someone who makes a living from giving beauty advice, it seems ironic that you would frown upon a campaign which is promoting, fundamentally, the raising of awareness of a serious disease.
There are a couple of issues I have with the absolute ridiculousness of your statement above. The first… on clicking on your profile via the guardian website, (next to a photo of you wearing, what appears to be, a significant amount of make-up) it is claimed that you are a Beauty Columnist. A list of your previous articles is posted quite clearly on the page, where you review the latest foundation, give beauty tips, provide information to the avid reader on how to improve their appearance with make-up and beauty products. Ironically – it seems you make a living out of the implication that ‘mascara and lipstick are like oxygen to women’. Secondly – no part of the #nomakeupselfie suggests this in anyway shape or form. It is quite simply an idea that has gone viral to raise awareness.
When I was nominated, I have to admit, I wasn’t overjoyed at putting a barefaced photo on my facebook profile. Mainly because I, like the majority of the entire world, prefer to put things on facebook that are nice. I don’t regularly put photos up of me in the morning or after a gym session looking like I’m about to keel over. If I have an argument with my husband… you’re not going to see in a status update; but did I post when we got engaged and sneak a few wedding pics on there? Of course I did! It’s human nature to want to share and social media provides a platform on which to do so – filtering and untagging our way out of all the photos and information we’d rather the world wasn’t privy to.
You claim that #nomakeupselfie is just a ‘mass exercise in narcissism greeted by adoring comments saying “you still look hot hun”’. Which is hilarious really, as narcissists tend to post images of themselves looking good. Do you know how many comments I got along these lines? None. Why? Because it would be a LIE! I have liked and celebrated those that have stripped themselves bare for the campaign, but I’m not about to start off loading beauty compliments to start inflating egos. This campaign has absolutely nothing to do with vanity. It’s simply an idea, that when you link it to making a donation and nominate your friends to also participate, has a wonderful domino effect. This has has resulted in a serious amount of money being raised for a great cause. Baking cakes, running a marathon or setting up a direct debit (congratulations by the way, on doing all three!) also have no direct correlation to the hundreds of charities that ask people to get involved in such activities for a good cause. So why should this campaign be any different?
So to cut a very long rant short – Sali Hughes, you are wrong. No one is claiming to be ‘brave’, change the world or cure cancer from taking their make up off. To be frank, it’s insulting to have someone suggest this, especially a Beauty Columnist, who surely requires insecure narcissists to exist in order for anyone to have any interest in anything you have to say? For all the rubbish that social media can bring to the world, this is something beautiful and philanthropic. I’d be surprised if anyone as CRUK agreed with one word of your convoluted, misinformed article and if you really are seen so often without make up – as you claim… then I have a challenge for you… A nomination. #nomakeupselfie. Unless of course, you can’t bring yourself to support a charity in such a ‘reductive, sexist, self-congratulatory campaign for ominous gain.’
To read Sali’s column, click here.