So, this week saw the “No Make-up Selfie” phenomenon take off.
There were sceptics. This wasn’t initially an officially endorsed piece of fundraising. However, my thought was that it was harmless enough, and if just one person saw the words “breast cancer” and decided to have a quick feel of themselves, then it can only be a good thing.
Then, against the expectations of most, the campaign started working. Cancer charities started receiving donations that they might not otherwise have had, and, this can only be a good thing. A really good thing. And so I joined in the fun. I really didn’t think I would, because, you see, I have issues with my face. You may remember a previous blog I wrote (https://barnesbraindump.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/my-new-ism/).
They are my issues, and they are nothing compared to the massive fuckwit that is cancer. So I eventually decided to get over myself and post a picture of me with no makeup on. (I did, however, leave my glasses on, because I felt that they at least covered some of my face).
Here, this is mine.
Then some people got upset. Why should women be seen as being “brave” because they dared to bare their faces without makeup. And they are right. It is a sign of how society has made us feel inadequate. There is no doubt that magazines and the media make people (men included) feel that they are not meeting some arbitrary expectation of beauty.
But the problem is that the world is the way it is. It isn’t the way it should be. And so, for somebody who feels the way I do about themselves, I think there was an element of bravery in what we did.
I wish I felt confident and happy to go bare faced more often. But I don’t. Not yet.
Please don’t make those of us that contributed feel bad that we don’t have the self-confidence that you are so lucky to possess. I envy those of you that don’t feel ashamed of your face, and don’t want to mask it. We are constantly bombarded with images of perfection, and it takes strength to ignore that. I am glad that there are so many strong women out there who already have this strength. Some of us are working towards it. But telling us that what we did isn’t brave because you happen to do it every day, strikes me as a little insensitive.
People made me feel pathetic, and like I was letting women down (which is the same feeling that THOSE magazines etc instil) for posting my selfie, and for feeling proud of myself for something that I found so hard.
Perhaps you have been told you are beautiful. You might have healthy glowing skin, and bright eyes. Perhaps you have never hated your face so much that you have felt that you wanted to apologise to people sitting opposite you on public transport for having to look at you.
But please don’t knock us for the baby steps that we took with our No Make Up selfies. The world needs to change. I really hope that one day we will look back at what happened this week and say “How funny that back in 2014, women considered it brave to be seen in a public forum without their makeup on”
But we are not there yet.
One thing I do know though, is that the reaction I got from the selfie I posted on FB made me cry. I could not believe that my bare face, the face I have hated my whole life, could be looked at and admired. And, it gave me such a boost. And today, I went out with no make up on, and I held my head up high.
Yes, it is a shame that the #nomakeupselfie is a thing. But if it is a thing that helps the world to see how the cosmetics industry has been fucking us all up, AND can raise MILLIONS for cancer research, then I reject your rejection of it.
Now, if you haven’t done so, please text BEAT to 70099 to donate £3
And be who you want to be – with as much or as little slap as you want.