In the last week or so week my Facebook and Twitter have been dominated by a series of carefully angled mug-shots – raising awareness about breast cancer.

The ‘no make-up selfies’ trend has polarised the twittersphere. Discussion on the topic frequently ending with the ‘but it’s for CHARITY trump-card’ which renders the disagree-er at best an altruism kill-joy.

I’m not sure I buy that line and the #nomakeupselfie trend has had me rolling my eyes down my Facebook newsfeed.

And so, Threads readers, while I hate to wee distain on the very earnest campaigning of my social media peers here’s my two pence on the topic.

Us Millennials, also known as ‘Generation Me’, are often characterised as being inward-looking types. Rather than the ever-protesting students of the 1970s who were busy chaining themselves to trees and leading the anti-war campaign, our generation typically has narrowed their interests. That is, from global conflict to lads on tour in Thailand and the perfect night-out mirror selfie. We have put down the placard and picked up the iPhone. We’re doing less stuff but at least everyone knows about it.

The ‘no make-up selfie’ is activism which fits our generation like a glove. We get to campaign about breast cancer but also make it about ourselves. And thrown into the mix, it ticks the public altrusim box in a way that no-one can call showing-off because it’s viral right? That’s how it works?

I’m thrilled about the money raised and no, I don’t like cancer either, but while the accompanying donations are an improvement, they don’t totally redeem the campaign for me. The ‘no make-up selfie‘ still seems, as accused,  like narcissism dressed up as activism.

If we’re meant to do our good deeds in private, ‘no make-up selfies’ are a #fail. And this is coming from someone who blogs about sustainable community living and gets told off for instagramming the homeless. I’m about as typical a self-interested millennial as you can get.

Secondly. I hate to break it to you, but the ‘no make-up selfie’ is what we, in real life, call ‘the selfie’. I’m way ahead of that trend, I’ve been doing ‘no make-up selfies’ for ages, Heck, I even go for the ‘no make-up day’ if I’m feeling really brave.

If going out without make-up is a biggie for you and you’ve braved it this week, then truly and unsarcastically, well done. But really, have we got to the stage where we can accompany a plain faced twit-pic with #brave? That when we let someone see our faces, it has to be for the sake of cancer rather than because, you know, that’s actually what my face looks like.

Campaigning is important and liberating because it is about the other. It changes perspective and challenges the human tendency to each think of ourselves as the primary subject; it is, by nature, humbling. RAK nominations and selfies for charity aren’t a major injustice, they’ve just missed the point a bit.

Written by Mim Skinner // Follow Mim on  Twitter

Mim is a twenty-something from London who has migrated to the North (but has unfortunately not found warmer weather). She's passionate about living sustainably, Christian community, playing scrabble and growing vegetables. She has been known to write songs about disabled mice and rap in French under the alias Mir-I-am (drop a beat now).

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