Posting make-up free selfies to Facebook does very little to raise awareness of the devastating effects of cancer. Be active instead, writes Judy Johnson
Women are currently flooding Facebook and Twitter feeds with 'no make-up selfies' in order to raise cancer awareness.
Yes, it's as daft as it sounds. What seems to have started out as support for 81-year-old actress Kim Novak who was criticised for her post-surgical looks at the Oscars (author Laura Lippman tweeted a barefaced selfie with the hashtag #itsokkimnovak and others quickly followed) has somehow turned into the latest form of 'slacktivism'.
While anything that raises awareness of the dreaded disease is of course welcomed, it's hard to see why posting a photo of you posing sans maquillage is helpful. Money is not being donated; not wearing make-up has very little to do with any symptoms to look out for; all it really does is show us how a good filter can solve any kind of skin woes - which we're sure doesn't do much to comfort those who are affected by cancer in their everyday life. And isn't that most of us? One way or another the sad truth is that we've all had it in our lives, and so trivialising it to a selfie seems, all in all, irresponsible and irrelevant.
Cancer Research have publicised that they're not behind the campaign, while supporting the sentiment - but with an added message that the best way to help is donate, and we couldn't agree more.
While the 'bravery' of women sharing unflattering photos may mean their hearts are in the right place, it's certainly not going to do anything useful for the cause. If we were trying to raise awareness, for example, we might share that there are over 200 types of cancer, and that every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with the disease. That cancer incidence rates in Great Britain have risen by 43% in women since the mid-1970s, and that there are things you can do to prevent it, including not smoking, keeping a healthy body weight, staying active and practising sun safety.
By sharing figures instead of faces, social media could spread knowledge rather than self-indulgence. Take action - real action - today, and make a real difference.
For more information about cancer or to donate to the fight to cure the disease, check out the following links: