No Make Up Selfies, Hmmm


Written by Claire Wigington
27 Thursday 27th March 2014

The thing was, I didn’t really want to do it. I was a bit ‘meh’ about the whole thing. It didn’t seem to have anything to do with cancer and it was all very ‘look at me, look at me’ which I am not adverse to, but it all seemed a bit self serving. I’d seen a few over the week but yesterday it felt like it exploded. Of course with the trend comes the commentary. Different perspectives, gendered backlash, hidden narcissism, slacktivism. All of it shaping my opinion on whether I’d do a make-up free selfie or not.

Not wearing make-up is not a big deal for me. I’m not wearing make up now, it’s midday and I’m at my desk. I only really wear make-up for meetings and parties. Most of my working life is barefaced. That’s not to say I don’t like to glam up. Lashes, hair, face. Nailed. Which pictures do I post on Facebook? Lashes win.

But that wasn’t my issue with doing it. I know what I look like, and the people I love know what I look like with no make-up. Nobody has died yet. The thing was that I wasn’t sure if it is cool or not. Well, I knew. It isn’t cool. Let me break it to you kids. Cancer isn’t cool. There is no dressing that shit up. There’s no spin. Cancer is sad and miserable and LONG AS FUCK. Cancer charities creep around you in pastel shades whilst chemo strips the person away and leaves them looking like someone from Birkenau. That is not a look you can work. It makes observers feel awkward and sufferers feel lost.

My mum posted on FB - "I did my bit, Race For Life with no hair, eyebrows or eyelashes so I'm guilt free. Can't get any barer than that!!! I need to promote glamour and survival for cancer survivors whoop whoop! More make up please! x"

I re-posted it and felt affirmed. My cancer survivor mum hasn’t done it so I don’t have to do it. Decision made. I shall observe.

Then something strange happened. People started adding the call to action, as if in response to everyone saying, ‘This has nothing to do with cancer’. £1million was raised yesterday for Cancer Research, although they deny starting the ‘campaign’. Then loads and loads of hateful people started moaning at women being vain and the show off, self-aware nature of our social media culture. All seeing, all knowing, with not a drop of sincerity. Huge swaths of people saying ridiculous things like “Is make-up such a big deal ladies?” Well, yeah dur it is! It’s a multi-million pound industry which peddles their shit at women’s insecurities and their sense of pride. Women are both slaves to and worshippers of cosmetics. It defines us, both wearing and not wearing make-up. The majority of men don’t traditionally wear make-up and so what was a thing about women taking selfies for some sort of good cause, becomes a gender issue. And that’s when women started telling other women what to do. 

I can’t stand anyone telling me what I should do. Especially what I should do with MY OWN FUCKING FACE! I own my face. You don’t own it. Make-up companies don’t own it. 

Amongst the self-congratulation and plethora of “ooh don’t we all look great without make up” some actual money was raised. So I don’t get what’s wrong here? Women are posting pictures of themselves as they are. As they look. And a worthwhile charity is making money? Women aren’t showing their tits for charity, or doing a lap dance, or getting botox for charity. They are just taking a picture of their face.  

There are haters everywhere. I’m a fucking hater from time to time. I love hating. But I do love loving more. It’s scary to do something loving and raw and real, and I’m not saying that posting a selfie with no make-up on is raw and real. It’s still an approved photo to advertise yourself. But it’s a pretty good start and seems pretty fucking harmless. The way we communicate with each other now is fluid. It changes with the trends of the day. Memes explode, breed, grow and fade away. That’s what going viral means. At least the bare face selfie is not encouraging you to drink a pint of gin. This seemingly organically grown movement has tapped into the heart of something which women want to engage with. Want to share. What that says about women and make-up is a bigger debate. It’s fricking huge. But let’s not hate on women doing a bunch of stuff which is self-congratulatory, makes you feel good and has made a bit of dosh for charity. Come on! This is good vibes!

Saying all this, I still wasn’t going to do one. As I said above, it’s not cool. Plus I had cancer surviving mum on my side. 

Then last night my sister got shitfaced, posted a drunken barefaced selfy at 1am and nominated me. FFS. 

So here's my barefaced selfy. It’s basically my face with no make up on. Which sort of just looks like my face. 

Please text BEAT to 70099 to donate £3. My friend Bonnie text BEAR to the same number and has adopted a Polar Bear which is also a very good cause AND has even less to do with not wearing make-up.

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