Another day, another social media craze that sweeps the globe. If you checked your Facebook wall this morning, you would have seen hundreds of females posing for a selfie with no makeup on (SHOCK!). How is this possible you wonder? Well it is all in the name of battling cancer apparently. It comes to no surprise that nearly everyone has a strong opinion on this subject, as on one side of the coin it can be seen as a great way to raise awareness, but on the other it can be seen as exploiting a serious subject in order to fill some narcissistic tendencies.
First of all I will identify the good, honest people who have seen this as a bit of fun whilst donating some of their hard-earned cash in order to help Cancer Research. Although there is a way to anonymously donate to any charity you want, any donation is better than no donation right? The biggest plus out of this craze is that no doubt Cancer Research will raise an awful lot of money, which is a great thing in the battle against cancer. It also changes the atmosphere on social media sites, as sometimes they can be quite temperamental places. Many an argument will take place on a daily basis, but this seems to have created a sense of virtual community.
Away from the charitable aspect of the act, it shows that women do not need an industrial amount of makeup in order to look good. This is also where the campaign turns slightly negative, and almost a bit sinister.
Cancer is a massive killer in all forms of societies, and do we really need pictures of people in order to ‘raise awareness’. This term gets used too much, and by now there is no doubt that people are aware of cancer. Many families have been torn apart by this dreadful disease and the last thing these people want is to be told to be aware of what might be. The real question burning under this benevolent term is ‘are you going to give money?’ This may seem like a pessimistic view, but there are other ways to advertise charity other than to take a picture of ones face.
Eventually the fad will pass, but does that mean that ‘awareness’ will pass? Of course not and this is why there is something slightly narcissistic about these pictures. There is opportunity to raise genuine awareness here, but some are simply posting slightly blurred pictures of their best benevolent pout, and then not proceeding to donate afterwards. In this case the craze becomes detrimental to the cause and just highlights some of the problems in today’s world. It seems that the folks doing this are just hunting for approval from their peers, and then it just becomes a big cycle of people patting each other on the back in cosmetic approval whilst the genuine issue takes a back seat.
There have been increases in donations off the back of this trend, but so much more can be done here. There is a question to be raised and that is what an image of someone’s face without makeup ever done for the fight against cancer that the photos of other made up faces haven’t? There are other people out there raising genuine charity via head shaves, marathon runs, and other ventures. These create a physical element of community and produce real-life emotions with people making genuine sacrifices in the name of charity.
There have even been examples of people labelling others as ‘brave’ because they are uploading pictures of their faces! This is terrible when held up to the unimaginable struggle that many go through fighting cancer on a daily basis. Despite the good intentions by some, one can’t help that a lot of people online are just promoting the wrong cause here, the self.
The fight against cancer will continue, and as long as people do donate there is hope that one day all forms will be curable, but also this trend will pass. Unfortunately another trend that won’t pass is the narcissistic society we live in today where a lot of people are only interested in promoting the identity behind thescreen. Despite the doom and gloom element to this latest craze, there are some great people in society who genuinely want to help others, and unfortunately they slip under the public radar.