No makeup equals… what, exactly?
I was debating whether or not to write something about this whole “no makeup selfie for breast cancer awareness” thing that is happening. Obviously I chose to write something. My reason for doing so is twofold. First though, let me start off by saying that the good intentions of everyone involved in taking a picture of themselves without makeup has not been lost on me. I get what they are trying to do. And apparently a good deal of money has been raised. For what? I’m not sure? Research? Outreach? Education? I don’t think it’s any of those, but okay.
These trends seem to pop up from time to time. They are always well intentioned. I get that. But what do they really do? The goal, supposedly, is to raise awareness of breast cancer. You’ve all heard me say this before but I’ll just go ahead and say it again. I’m pretty sure we are all aware that breast cancer exists. Heck, why stop there? Now I see there are guys posting pictures of themselves with socks on their *ahem* man bits to raise awareness for testicular cancer. Both very serious diseases, the seriousness of which gets kind of pushed to the side when you see a person with a sock on their you-know-what or a million selfies popping up all over the place. Do those things bring the focus to cancer? Do they make you think about cancer and the fact that it is an epidemic? Do they educate you? Or do they just make you laugh and think oh how funny? Cancer is not funny. Trust me. It’s not.
The phrase “raise awareness” makes me weary. I inevitably sigh when I hear it and make a face that is probably not so nice. How about if with every selfie that people are posting they list some of the things you can do to check for cancer? Or how about they talk about knowing your body? Or your family history? Or anything?! Nine times out of ten I don’t see a single thing that is in any way informative when these “awareness” trends pop up. Education is the best weapon we have right now in dealing with this disease. Not going makeup free. And while I’m on the subject, what the heck is that all about any way? Is it supposed to be brave to post a picture of yourself with no makeup? What have we come to that we only present a version of ourselves that is made up or “perfect”? Almost every girl I know looks GORGEOUS without makeup. Once I met up with a friend for coffee and she apologized for not having any makeup on which caught me off guard, as did the fact that I had NO idea she had freckles on her face!! They were beautiful and so was she. I mean truly stunning without makeup.
Sadly, I feel the only discussion that is being raised as a result of women and girls going makeup free is how people look without makeup. I’ve looked at some of the comments being left on various selfies popping up and it’s not a conversation about cancer, it’s a conversation that is reassuring the person who posted the picture that they still look great without makeup. That’s not the dialogue we need to have happening if the goal is truly to get people informed about how they can really stay on top of things. Let’s start a conversation about breast exams. Knowing our bodies so we can monitor any changes that might come up which could prove to be harmful.
I think if there’s going to be a no makeup selfie trend happening it should be to “raise awareness” for how beautiful girls and women really are without a bunch of cosmetics piled on their faces. We are all so unique and special. It’s a shame to feel like you have to hide yourself in order to walk out the door. You’re beautiful just as you are! And as for raising awareness for breast cancer… how about we just focus on education? Real education and getting the word out about what you can do to stay on top of your health. Or how about posting selfies of yourself at a doctors office when you go for a checkup? Something that shows action! It’s going to take more than not wearing makeup to really make a difference. That is not to say that it’s not great to want to help out somehow, but the best way anyone can help is by getting the facts and taking action. We are all aware cancer exists. The question is: do you know what to do about it?