#nomakeupselfie: The vanity around charity

When a blog starts with the following caveat you know you’re in for a treat: I have absolutely no problem with raising awareness or money for Cancer Research. There is a ‘but’.

For the last couple of weeks I’ve seen more women not wearing makeup than you would at the PETA AGM. And despite the excellent results this little ‘campaign’ has achieved for an extremely important charity, I have to ask, why the hell are you doing this?

This isn’t about Cancer Research is it? It’s about you. I can’t possible conceive a more ludicrously vain way of raising money for a charity. Taking a photo of yourself that is only designed to attract compliments from sad people on Facebook and make you look like a charitable person to boot. If you’ve lost someone to cancer, if you’re going to lose someone to cancer, if you’re just scared about losing someone to cancer, there is a painfully simple way of doing your bit:

1. Log on to Cancer Research UK

2. Click the large, bright purple ‘Donate’ button on the top left of page

3. Type in the amount you wish to donate, whack in your card details, job done

But if you just did that, nobody would know about it would they? Oh we couldn’t possibly have that. If you’ve done something kind and thoughtful everyone must know about it so they can applaud you. I’m not bothered about girls taking pictures of themselves without makeup. I don’t understand why women feel compelled to go so heavy on the old war paint in the first place. But don’t make out that it’s because of anything more meaningful than the fact you want someone to tell you how pretty you look or congratulate you for doing something for charity.

This is a wider trend in life. People are absolutely incapable of doing something good without feeling compelled to self-broadcast. Why, when I donate to charity, am I led down the path of sharing my contribution on social networks? It’s not about me. I don’t donate to charities so people think I’m a top bloke. I do it because I genuinely believe in what they do.

I understand that charities rely on marketing, and the fact that this went viral is good in that sense. It’s just all a little bit sick though. What next? Are you going to start taking photos of you and your grandparents, just to prove that you occasionally visit them? After all, you can’t possible make someone’s day without getting something out of it for yourself. That’s like me saying I gave a pregnant woman my seat on the tube earlier. I didn’t do it to save her any physical trauma. I did it to look like a gentleman in front of the smoking hot girl sat opposite me. If it wasn’t for my overactive libido I’d have let her roll around the carriage like a hippo on an ice rink.

Clearly I’ve lost my temper here, but I just can’t get over the amount of self-indulgence it takes to think that anyone gives a shit about what a great person you are. If you’ve taken a no makeup selfie purely for the good of the cause, I apologise. But from where I’m standing it looks more like you’re sourcing desperate compliments for staged photographs disguised as a forced act of goodwill than actually giving two shits about cancer.

Joe McNamara
Joe McNamara
Tech PR and Telford layabout