Make-up does not make the girl

Peyton Callanan

I have a confession: even though my Facebook timeline tells me I have been a member since 2008, I have yet to master the art of the “selfie.” Now that smart phones have those handy, front-facing cameras, finding the right lighting and angle to take a flattering picture should be easy, but I still somehow always end up looking more awkward than the girl in the “ermahgerd” meme.

Even though I am not an avid selfie fan, my Facebook newsfeed is certainly full of girls who are far more skilled than me at taking a decent photo of themselves and attaching a generic message of what they are doing that day or how #blessed they are. Recently though many of those pictured have been accompanied by #nomakeupselfie as part of breast cancer awareness campaign where girls post pictures of themselves sans makeup and then challenge their friends to do the same.

Like many social media fads, the #nomakeupselfie campaign traveled quickly across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and found quite a few critics along the way. Many people have considered as to whether or not the campaign is actually accomplishing what it was originally designed to do and if there are better ways to raise money for cancer research. The skepticism isn’t surprising. Kony 2012 anyone?

If you are one of the many people who are concerned that the campaign is promoting narcissism rather than awareness for breast cancer, then try doing what one of my Facebook friends did and post a picture of a cancer survivor you care about rather than a picture of yourself or simply share some information about your favorite cancer charity.

However, for me the most troubling part about this whole campaign is the idea that women have to be challenged to share bare-face pictures and are being “brave” in doing so. Who you are as a woman shouldn’t be defined by your appearance, and your femininity is not defined by how much mascara you wear.

Flaunting your “I just woke up like this” face isn’t brave; it’s disingenuous. The fact that some women feel the need to explain that their selfies are makeup-free or sans filter as if it is rare and unique statement just shows how much women believe that Covergirl looks are the norm.

The way you look without makeup isn’t something you should have to defend, it’s just a part of life. It’s the face you were born with, and no amount of makeup, lighting or filter will actually change that.


Callanan is a senior communication arts major from Chuluota, Fla. She is the current Opinions Editor.