A selfless selfie?


UK soap star Kym Marsh’s ‘no make-up selfie’

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or stranded on a desert island for the past fortnight, you’ll have undoubtedly caught wind of the newest social media trend to hit Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – the ‘no make-up selfie’.

Playing on the fact that most social media users are keen to post pictures of themselves at every opportunity, a young teenager from the UK posted an image of herself sans the slap and asked her Facebook friends to do the same, all in the name of charity.

While it seems noble, the biggest question raised when the idea really started to take hold was pretty obvious – how on earth was it actually helping anyone who either had cancer or had experienced it within their family?

It was a perfect demonstration of how quick we all are to participate in a bit of shameless self-promotion under the guise of charity. However, it angered many people who regularly give to charity without needing tens or hundreds of people to ‘Like’ a picture of them without make-up.

Thankfully, the PR machine at Breast Cancer Awareness UK quickly piggy-backed on the trend and issued a selfie of its employees imploring that anyone who posted a no make-up selfie also texted ‘BEAT” to 70099 in order to donate £3.

Suddenly, it all seemed a lot more credible and worthy – and celebrities hopped on the bandwagon. In fact, it was so popular that it made its way across the ocean to Australia, although we’re yet to see a charity affiliation with pictures. At the moment, Aussie women are doing their bit to ‘raise awareness’. The real question is, are they raising awareness for themselves or the cause?

The craze has been an eye-opener. Many people who normally don’t dip in their pockets to donate to charity did so on this occasion because they received gratification in return. Misanthropists around the world will be having a field day as it provides yet another example of our shallow society.

But on a serious note, is this the future of charity fundraising? Do we expect to be given something in return for our support? It’s an interesting question and one I am sure charities globally are asking themselves.