Sunday, 23 March 2014

The ‘No-Makeup Selfie’ Craze: charitable act or narcissism masked as charity?

by Isabelle Welch

The 'no makeup selfie' fundraising phenomenoem has led to an exponential interest in cancer. Unfortunately, it has also sparked a cancer awareness vs. narcissism debate: is it a fun way to increase awareness of a good cause or a publicity scam masquerading as fundraising? Either way, the viral trend has been a success for charity, resulting in donations of over £2 million within just 48 hours.
According to the Independent, Cancer Research UK received more than 800,000 text donations in 24 hours after the initial sharing of the donation code on a variety of social media pages. Twitter reported that in 24 hours it had 83,000 mentions; Instagram saw 59,000 posts from Thursday to Friday.
The trend continues to grip social media, with an announcement made by Cancer research UK, that over  £2 million had been donated to its cause by Friday.
Recently, you will have found your newsfeed subject to even more selfies than usual, as girls post barefaced pictures in a bid to raise money for charity. Alongside their photo, girls post the hashtag #nomakeupselfie and a nomination of their chosen friends to ‘bare all,’ thus continuing the viral chain.
Many have used their no-makeup selfie to recognize someone battling the disease or in memory of a loved one.
Celebrities such as Beyonce and Holly Willoughby have followed suit, posting their own pictures to help the trend gather momentum.
The “selfie” craze has not been without criticism. Commentators have questioned the intentions of women, especially of the more high profile posts, suggesting that self-promotion rather than charity was the underlying motivation. Ironically, for Beyonce, having posted her selfie which proclaimed to be her “just rolled out of bed look”, was heavily criticized for her arrogance.

Blogger Yomi Adegoke was also quick to focus on the more cynical aspect of the posts, saying: “You can’t help but wince at the fact uploading a picture of what you actually look like is now being deemed ‘brave’, especially when being held up against cancer.”
Irrespective of the motivations, real or otherwise, if we are to look at the net result, one of society’s greatest challenges – the race to find a cure for cancer –has received a phenomenal boost in publicity and donations and women around the country, many of whom are high profile public figures, have dared to bare all for a good cause which could be described as a charitable act in and of itself.
To support Cancer Research UK text BEAT to 70099 to donate £3 or visit

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