Unless you’ve been residing cosily under a rock you’ll be aware of the no makeup selfie nomination that’s sweeping social media currently. The idea is that women post a photograph taken with a camera at close range using their own fair hand. No makeup is allowed.
I am taking from this that the women are doing two things. Firstly they’re doing something outside of their comfort zone. Secondly they’re making a donation to a cancer charity. They can then choose to nominate their friends to do the same.
While scanning social media I see this phenomenon has been met with mixed opinions.
I cannot pretend I’m not bias about this. After all the no makeup selfie had raised tens of thousands of euro over the last few days. All these funds will help women with breast cancer. I’m one of those women. So I guess it’s a no brainer from my point of view.
I can't lie, I'm genuinely puzzled by the backlash though.
I’ve heard the phrase - it doesn’t sit right with me - being knocked around. Let me assure you, neither does a cancer diagnosis.
Another comment I've read is that it puts women under pressure to join in. My opinion on that is very simple. If you don’t want to do it – don’t. You have a choice. But may I remind you, women with cancer have no choice.
Apparently some feel it’s a sly way for women to tear one another down. There is also a sense that those taking part in the no makeup selfie have got to be taking umpteen photos in half light and picking the one where they look the best.
In the age of digital technology don’t we all scan our own photos and pick the most flattering to post up while deleting the ones where we look possessed? I know I do.
This campaign is hurting nobody. It’s not dangerous, illegal or nasty. It has promoted widespread discussion about breast cancer, which is a good thing. The cancer charities are receiving much-needed funds. Surely that has to be positive too?
This makeup free selfie is doable for all of us. It doesn’t cost a lot and all you need is a camera and a face and a couple of euro to donate. So it’s inclusive no matter what our colour creed age or means.
Having battled breast cancer so many times (I’m currently waging my ninth war against the disease) I feel I’m qualified to speak from a patients perspective.
When cancer comes knocking on the door, it’s terrifying isolating and so much control is taken away. In my experience the best way of grabbing part of that control back is by embracing the situation and injecting as much positivity into my world as possible. Being proactive is a must. Otherwise the often bleak and scary situations threaten to take over. Cancer is a battle and so far I am so lucky that I’m winning. I’m still here. I’m still living a full and happy life. I’ve no intention of going anywhere. All this “luck” is down to the amazing care I receive and the astonishing advances in medicine. Make no mistake - these advances can only come about with continued funding.
The no makeup selfie is clocking up oodles of precious funding. It will help to save lives. It will help to keep people alive. People like me.
I’m not writing this piece to wag my finger or tell you that you need to pose without makeup if that makes you feel uncomfortable. If it’s not for you, I get that. I know people who jump out of planes to raise money for charity. I couldn’t do that for all the tea in China. But let’s not knock the women who have chosen put themselves out there while making a donation.
If you have posted a no makeup selfie I applaud you all and thank you for helping to keep me and other breast cancer vixens alive.
So put your money where your mouth is Emma, I hear you say! I thought I’d do my no makeup selfie with a twist. You may have noticed it above this piece. I did mine yesterday as I lay on the radiation table wearing my radiation mask. The mask is designed to keep my head and neck still so the lasers can directly hit the cancer during treatment.
The other two pictures are clearly not selfies – my arms aren’t that long. They illustrate the set up for radiation treatment in case you're curious.
I’ve no doubt the no makeup selfie idea will continue to divide opinion and that’s OK. Of course we are all entitled to our opinions. But the way I see it is this: I for one feel incredibly grateful for this intense wave of camaraderie and all I see is an expression of sisterhood and support. From where I'm sitting that's damn powerful. That's girl power and hurray for it!
Wishing you all health and happiness with or without makeup!
P.S. if you'd like to make a donation to cancer research please go on line to: