I have a bit of a rant. Consider this your warning.
There has been a viral movement called the no makeup selfie to raise awareness for cancer. I, along with countless others from around the world choose to participate.
The idea behind it was to post a photo of yourself without makeup to raise awareness for cancer. Simple, right?
Well, like with everything in life, the movement garnered negative attention. People scrutinized the efforts saying that posting a picture of yourself was vain and attention seeking and in no way could be compared to the struggles those with cancer have to endure. I agree. Posting a picture with no makeup in no way make me or anyone else “brave.”
But I think people missed the point of the movement. I do not think at any point in time did anyone think that by posting a picture of themselves on a social media site were they comparing themselves to having the same difficulties as those with cancer, and to claim that was the intent, is asinine.
To begin with, why would you bash something that was built on the premise of good intention. Why would you criticize something that was intended to do good and make a difference. Why you are standing there with your arms crossed and a scowl on your face complaining about what others are doing, what are you yourself doing for the cause? Are you trying to make a difference? Or are you just sitting behind a computer screen judging others. Get a grip.
I look at the cancer awareness selfies in two ways. First, I see the cancer awareness selfie as being equivalent to wearing a pink shirt or a sporting a ribbon of some sort. Those things do not cure cancer, but you know what it means and it shows support and solidarity. When anyone suffering from breast cancer sees someone wearing a pink shirt throughout October, or a pink ribbon on someone’s chest, they know they are not alone. They know with that simple gesture that someone out there cares about them and what they are going through. The same stands true with the selfies. At least for me, it was a sign of support and encouragement. No different than wearing pink, or purple, or any other color intended to raise awareness for a disease. How could you be mad about that?
The way I look at it, may be where the debate originated. For so many women, makeup is a security blanket. I have friends that would rather be stoned to death than be seen in public without makeup. It is literally crippling for some to go in public without it. So for them to be willing to bare themselves for all the world to see, it is brave. It does matter.
It may be the smallest of small sacrifices, but for so many women, it is just that. A sacrifice. A sacrifice they are willing to make in hopes of reaching someone fighting a battle with cancer. More even than that, with cancers like breast cancer, so many women lose their identity as their hair begins to thin, and their bodies become visibly weak from the treatment. In some cases, women lose their breasts, which too so many are considered to be identifiers of our sexuality.
So while it is simple and easy and small to wash off makeup and show the natural beauty women have, I think it sends a message of encouragement to the women fighting cancer that you do not need hair, or makeup, or even breast to be a strong, beautiful woman. Outside of all of those superficial or stereotypical ways of identifying women, at the core of us all, it is our natural beauty and resilience that carries us all through and will ultimately prevail in the end.
With that kind of message, and that kind of intent, how can you call someone vain or attention seeking? All too often we tear each other apart and want to bring one another down. Let’s change that. Let’s build each other up. Let’s encourage each other to make a difference.
Just because you look at posting a makeup free photo as being easy, or pointless, or even dumb, the person who posted it might have thought it was hard and just wanted to make a difference. But when you criticize them, it discourages any sort of future action or attempt they may make.
Luckily, the negative attention that the no make up selfies garnered only furthered the intent of raising cancer awareness. So, the movement is serving it’s purpose.
Brittney Burns, SiteDart Author