The fact that I have no makeup in this picture does not make me brave.
Surely you must have all seen this by now; it’s on all forms of social media – especially facebook where the no-makeup selfie is metaphorically being shoved down your throat every time you check your feed. Everyone is doing it. Everyone is posting a picture of themselves with no makeup on in order to raise money for charity. Before I continue I want to say that raising money for charity is never a bad thing, I just don’t like the method of doing so in this case.
This whole campaign asks women to scrub their faces clean and post a photo in a very public sphere, because this – going makeupless – is the bravest thing a woman can do. I assume that having no makeup is supposed to signify the loss of dignity a cancer patient may feel during their illness and the effects the treatment can have on their body and physical appearance. But it doesn’t show this. Wearing no makeup is not the same as having cancer, and it never will be. The message also seems to be that cancer suffers are somehow ‘ugly’ and that without makeup those who don’t suffer from cancer can also be ‘ugly’. Makeup does not equal beauty just as no makeup does not equal a lack of beauty.
Makeup seems to be such a contentious issue. Women and men are continuously being judged on if they wear makeup or if they don’t, how much they wear and when. I am not brave because I chose to go without makeup day after day after day. I am not better than the woman (or man) who chooses to wear makeup every day of their life. I hate the fact that we are constantly being told that bravery equals an au natural face. No it doesn’t. Bravery equals rescuing people from a burning building, surviving day to day and going to an office where you hate everyone there and everyone hates you. Bravery equals donating money to a charity without having to show the whole world that you have done so.
I have the same issue with the BBC’s Children in Need Bear Face Campaign where they ask women to go to work without any makeup on for sponsorship. I do this every day. I feel I should be sponsored to put on makeup. I don’t feel like a hero for choosing not to put on eyeliner – I feel like someone who is exercising their right to choose.
Both these campaigns are targeted at women – in order to beat cancer we take photos of ourselves with no makeup on because this shows how dedicated we are, how serious we are when we say we want to beat cancer. And I don’t like that at all.
The fact that this selfie campaign has raised so much money is wonderful – advancements in the field of medicine come from donations and support. I just want the next campaign to ask women to grow their facial hair for a month, or to help a random stranger cross the road, or to have us (all of us, men included) in drop-crotch onesies at work. That would be pretty cool.