Controversial ‘selfies’ for good cause not courageous, but effective

By Tahlia Terhune, Columnist

Selfies are now serving a purpose, though not without controversy. As a way to spread awareness for cancer research, the newest trend is to post a selfie without makeup.
Originating in the United Kingdom, this trend has become popular in the U.S. The promotion, although created with good intentions, is creating a controversy.

The idea is simple: you bravely snap a photo of yourself all natural and post it online. Users will tag their friends and challenge them to do the same, stimulating a chain reaction.  The goal is to get as many people as possible involved to raise awareness for cancer.

Some believe this new act is both empowering to women and helping the fight against cancer. On the other hand, some argue that it is insensitive to women who have been through chemo and it is irrelevant to actually supporting cancer.

Kristina Egan of the Huffington Post writes  that the movement of selfies is empty. It lacks the actual desire to effectively help raise awareness for cancer or contribute to funds for research. However, she adds that the controversy of this movement itself has helped increase awareness.
One woman, who previously had battled cancer, commented on one of these selfies stating how she relied on makeup during chemo to help her feel beautiful during the hair loss. The irony of this trend had personally offended her.

One of the major flaws of this trend seems to be that the no-makeup selfie is being considered as a courageous act. Clearly, an act like removing makeup is minimally courageous when compared to the difficulty of and courage necessary for cancer. There needs to be a more sensitive language toward those partaking in this and a stronger sense of respect for who they are trying to help.

“I think there are good intentions behind them [no-makeup selfies], but they’re not relevant,” senior Mary Agnes Villanueva said. “There has to be better ways to boost cancer awareness than this. But I guess any movement for the cause is better than nothing.”

Regardless of the issues surrounding the trend, it did prove financially beneficial to the fight against cancer. People donated upwards of £2 million  to be donated within 48 hours, , according to the Independent.com.

While women who post their bare faces for social media to see may appear to be empowering women more than the fight against cancer, at least something is being done to draw attention. What they have begun to do is open up a dialogue for people to discuss what it means to be aware.    There have been donations from this trend, and that alone is reason enough to encourage it. It may not be the most holistically pleasing way to raise awareness, but it has made an impact. To make an impact is better than nothing.

 

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