Slacktivism and #nomakeupselfie

This trend of #nomakeupselfie has been amazing for Cancer Research UK.  So far they’ve received £8 million, which will fund 10 new clinical studies. However, the posts I’ve seen in my own social media feeds aren’t exactly clear about how they donated to research or what a no make up selfie actually has to do with cancer awareness. If you’ve donated, thank you, THANK YOU! I can’t tell you what it means to hear that someone put their money where their mouth is, or in this case their whole face. If all you’ve done is take a selfie, you need to rethink your motives.

I can’t say much more than what has already been said about this, so I’ll just share a few lines from some great blog posts about this trend of slacktivism.

“If someone had shown me their no make-up selfie when I was is the midst of chemotherapy hell three years ago, I would have mustered what little strength I had to beat them with my drip stand.” – Kim Stephens “There’s no bravery in no make-up selfies”

“On the Globe’s Facebook post about the trend, reader Angela Menard commented: ’90 per cent of the ‘no make up selfie’ posts on my news feed didn’t even mention the word cancer. I had to google what it was all about. When I got nominated, I posted a pic of a self breast examination.'” Amberly McAteer “Put your faces back on, ladies: Why the #nomakeupselfie trend has to stop”

It’s not really that brave to take a picture of yourself with no makeup. Sorry, not sorry. I’ve seen at least a dozen posts from other cancer survivors who feel no makeup selfies are an insult. Kind of like saying, “I’m sorry you had cancer, here’s my show of solidarity, I’m going without makeup for one selfie.”

I’d much rather see selfies of women doing self exams, women getting mammograms, women sharing what they do to prevent breast cancer, a screen-shot of your donation to an organization like Stand Up To Cancer. THAT is what I’ll get behind.

I have a few selfies that I’d like to share:

My chest after a bilateral mastectomy:



After another surgery to put in expanders and cadaver skin to try and get my chest back to something “normal.”


Three months into chemo, No Makeup! Pumping chemicals into my blood to save my life. #nomakeupselfie



I’m not trying to make you feel bad if you did post a selfie. All I want to do is for people to think about why they are posting the selfie and what they are doing that really makes a difference. Get a mammogram! Do a breast self-exam! Take care of yourself. 

PS: Adding cats to a selfie makes it 100 times better.


2 thoughts on “Slacktivism and #nomakeupselfie

  1. Gwen, I love you! Your selfies are the best. I am tempted to post some of my own with bald head and all. When you post what cancer has taken from you, your breasts, your hair, your power over your body, you are the true hero. Posting a face with no makeup is no match to what you have been through. I will follow you and post the real selfies that affect us with breast cancer. You are an inspiration!

  2. Pingback: Try These #CancerFighterSelfie | Mothering Off the Cuff

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