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The Globe and Mail

Put your faces back on, ladies: Why the #nomakeupselfie trend has to stop


A simple U.K. fundraising campaign got lost in translation. The #nomakeupselfie – women posting photos of themselves sans makeup to social media, donating to cancer research, and then nominating others to do the same – has gone on for too long. The road paved with good intentions took a wrong turn: the campaign has crossed the pond – and with it, lost all purpose.

In mere weeks, the campaign has raised £8 million for Cancer Research UK, which writes that it can now fund 10 new clinical trials. These efforts should be applauded. But in my very Canadian news feed, just 1 of the roughly 30 Canadian women posting #nomakeupselfies made any sort of mention of cancer.

On the Globe's Facebook post about the trend, reader Angela Menard commented: "90 per cent of the 'no make up selfie' posts on my news feed didn't even mention the word cancer. I had to google what it was all about. When I got nominated, I posted a pic of a self breast examination."

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Also problematic is the assumption that makeup is masking our true beauty: If you feel like you're not your #authenticself with mascara on, by all means stop wearing it. But let's not forget that makeup can make some of us feel pretty.

I cannot read another "unmasking, feeling so brave" post. The implication of this trend, that makeup is a mask forced on women by society, hiding our true beauty, is #untrue. If the real you feels beautiful with lipstick, apply liberally, I say.

Yes, the era of social media-ing everything has turned us all into self-involved navel-gazers, and this trend is no different in Canada. The unspoken truth of selfies: you took seven photos of a near-identical pose, stuck your chin out a bit more, adjusted the lighting, then passed it off as natural.

For me, the connection between makeup and cancer is unclear: I'm not sure men not shaving in November truly helps the prostate cancer cause, and I'm not sure simply taking a photo without makeup aids in a breast cancer cure. Cancer is horrid – I have friends and family coping with the disease, and I assure you there is more to do than reach for the makeup remover.

Let's be active: I hope that starts with an exam, learning about your family history, and talking to your doctor.

Follow @amberlym on Twitter

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