#NoMakeupSelfie + Cancer Awareness?

So lately these #NoMakeupSelfie’s for “cancer awareness” have been all over my newsfeeds, and frankly they are pissing me off. Don’t get me wrong. I am all for cancer awareness, and I think self-expression through pictures – with or without makeup – is great. But unless you’re a cancer survivor, or you’re asking people to look at your naked skin to help you check for skin cancer, you aren’t creating “awareness” around cancer.

Cancer Awareness

In this day and age, who isn’t “aware” of cancer? And if someone genuinely isn’t, they aren’t going to suddenly know about unregulated cells growing and forming malignant tumors, because someone has posted a picture of themselves without makeup, shared the colour of their bra, grown a moustache, told us where they place their handbag or whatever ridiculous new “awareness” campaign is going viral. I mean it when I say it is ridiculous. These things trivialize cancer, and takes attention away from cancer patients, their loved ones, research and information around prevention and detection.

I have no doubt that those who take part in these campaigns have good intentions. However, intentions aren’t magical and we all know the road to hell is paved with them. We do need awareness around the needs of cancer patients, the need for research, and information around prevention and detection of cancer. If you want to help, listen to people who have or have had cancer, listen to their loved ones, help spread information on early detection or cancer prevention. Donate to organizations that do cancer research (such as Cancer Research UK, Cancer Research Institute or Danish Cancer Society. However, do check how much of your donation actually goes to research or programs to create awareness or support patients.)

No Makeup + Self Expression

The thought of going without make-up on a workday made me uncomfortable. That's precisely why I did it.

The thought of going without make-up on a workday made me uncomfortable. That’s precisely why I did it.

I think selfies – with or without makeup – can be a great way to express yourself, and to work on self-acceptance. And you’ll find several pictures of me on Facebook without makeup – some because I just happened to not be wearing makeup that day, and some because I consciously chose not to.It is interesting to question why we choose to wear – or not wear – makeup in certain situations. For me, putting on makeup often means putting on my “professional” face. Similarly, when I am not feeling well or in a lot of pain, I will often wear more makeup to put on a brave face and avoid questions. However, for me it is also important to sometimes break that habit and know that I am okay to face the world on my own – even as that might make me feel more vulnerable.

I would love to see more people embracing their own beauty, and posting photos of however they choose to express it. Just own it. Don’t make it about cancer awareness.

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