Today’s post from Cecily is very relevant – this past week has seen the #nomakeupselfie explode on all forms of social media. I don’t have Facebook and I keep my Twitter fairly quiet, so I will admit that the craze passed me by initially. It was only when it crept over to Instagram and the media caught on that I began to follow what was going on with some interest.
I risk writing my own post here but this is Cecily’s ground to cover, I will just say that whilst I feel like the whole thing was ridiculous and started from something silly and vain there is no question that it grew into something magnificent. Yesterday I saw a tweet doing the rounds that said enough money had been raised to fund 10 new trials to try and fight cancer. If that’s true, kudos to the person who had the brains to actually donate, rather than just smile for the camera.
Over the past week I’m sure your Facebook and Twitter feeds have, like mine, been full of pictures of your friends’ unadorned faces accompanied by #nomakeupselfie. Although the craze wasn’t actually started by a charity, they are now mostly accompanied by a screengrab of a text donation to Cancer Research. Part of me wants to think that anything that raises awareness and money for a worthwhile cause is a good thing, yet the more I think about it and the more of my friends I see posting, the more determined I am not to join them.
The whole thing smacks of an uneasy mixture of vanity and insecurity. On the one hand, certain posters have obviously taken the time to carefully pick the right angle, the right light and the right pout and seem to be defiantly showing us that they look fabulous without make-up. Yet the very concept of a no make up selfie and the number of accompanying comments along the lines of ‘eek, can’t believe I’m brave enough to do this’ just promote the message that we are not good enough just as we are. It’s just a picture of your face – why should it be brave to show it to your friends?
I have no problem with make-up. At work, it makes me feel like a more polished version of myself and when I’m getting dressed up to go out, a slick of red lipstick or a smoky eye adds a touch of glamour, much like slipping on a pair of stilettos. Yet, I also don’t have a problem with going out bare faced. I never want to be ashamed of how I look. The nomake up selfie seems to be telling women that we need to disguise ourselves before we face the world, that our face without make-up is an inferior version and, at the same time, that not wearing make-up is somehow brave or even un-feminine.
The worst part of all – this was all started by a woman and women are responsible for its success. The bemused comments from our husbands, boyfriends and male friends show that, for the most part, they don’t really get it. They think we look quite nice without make up. Once again, wewomen are proving that so often we are our own worst enemy. To raise awareness of and money to help fight prostate cancer, men grow ludicrous 80s-style facial hair or, for those who can’t, patchy little pencil moustaches. I’m not a big fan of moustaches, November is definitely not my favourite month, but at least it shows that men don’t take themselves too seriously. Why oh why couldn’t have we have done the same? Not growing facial hair, obviously, but something fun and silly. #Nomakeupselfie is such a tragic wasted opportunity. Now, #clownmakeupselfie, there’s an idea I could get behind.