There is plenty of debate around the latest craze of nominations going around on Facebook and Twitter. No, it’s not Neknomination to drink some toxic cocktail and do a stunt. No, it’s not the nomination to jump in a freezing cold body of water for the winter challenge.
This “challenge” is to the ladies to post a selfie (a picture taken by oneself of oneself) without wearing any makeup and nominating others to do the same.
Since this particular nomination trend doesn’t have the same potential for danger as the aforementioned trends, you may be wondering why it is generating debate.
Is it because of all the humble-bragging going around with the pictures? The self-congratulatory captions proclaiming “Well, I hardly wear makeup anyway, so here you go! LOL” or the self-righteous and entirely inaccurate insinuation that people who wear makeup are in some way “masking” their “true selves”?
Actually, no. It’s because this campaign started as a fundraiser for breast cancer research, and has since been derailed as more and more people post selfies with no mention of the cause.
Sure, the #nomakeupselfie started out with the best intentions and actually raised a ton of money in the U.K. — about eight million pounds for Cancer Research UK, which the organization says can be used to fund 10 new clinical trials.
However, as it crossed the pond and spread like wildfire in social media arenas, the naked face picture evolved from a mere hook to the trend itself, eclipsing the cancer research angle.
The #nomakeupselfie is the face of the fundraising, but it’s missing the point.
It’s gone from a little bit of awareness-raising goes a long way to a kind of “slacktivism,” where it’s more important to the “slacktivist” to take part in the trend to feel good about participating whether or not they’ve participated in the actual cause.
I’m of the opinion that the link between makeup and cancer is weak at best, but this situation is strongly reminiscent of another: Movember, for which men grow moustaches for the month of November and fundraise for men’s health causes such as prostate cancer. But how many guys grow a moustache for the sake of growing a moustache and fail to make any mention of men’s health, let alone raise money to support the causes?
I don’t really see going without makeup as a challenge, nor do I see wearing makeup as “masking” any “true beauty,” which, let’s be real, is a total farce.
Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe all those selfies splashed across my Facebook feed are posted by people who are indeed donating to cancer research. Maybe they’re just donating quietly and feel no need to mention it.
I doubt it, because mentioning the cause is kind of the entire point.
The “challenge” should be to challenge what’s been researched about cancer and what hasn’t. There is no reliable screening test for ovarian cancer, for one. Why don’t we challenge that instead of our Facebook friends’ perceptions of what we look like?