The Facebook nomination fad has done its rounds on the internet in the last few months, from downing alcoholic concoctions in “neck-nominations,” to talking about your favourite pony in “neigh-nominations.” The latest practice of online public selections however, comes in the form of the “no make-up selfie to raise awareness of cancer.” Confused? You’re not the only one.
Over the last week my Facebook page has been inundated with selfies of girls with “no makeup on” stating the intention of the picture is to raise cancer awareness. Only one picture I have seen had links to a cancer charity website or to where you could donate. So it’s left me slightly baffled as to how these selfies, of girls with their tussled hair and undone faces, are actually raising awareness?
It strikes me as having familiarity with those irritating, pointless and now relatively mundane memes and pictures which pop on your timeline now and again, with a picture of a starving child saying “if you don’t click like – you advocate child poverty.” Sorry, what? How does that work exactly? Just as clicking like won’t provide that starving child with a meal, your no makeup selfie won’t raise awareness of cancer. One thing these “nominations” are showing however is just how shallow our society still is. Why is it so shocking for a girl to post a picture online with no makeup on? The back lash from some male counterparts is also very disheartening, mimicking and jeering at girls baring their all hardly inhabits the charitable spirit that was intended.
That’s enough of the negativity. It should be acknowledged, what these selfies do show is that people want to raise awareness of such an important subject. But there are many more influential, substantial and worthwhile ways you can raise awareness and especially money, for research into cancer and its cure, than just posting a makeup-less selfie.
1. DO SOMETHING:
Don’t just sit behind your computer screen clicking like on a picture saying you support cancer research. Go out and prove it. Walk, run, cycle or bungee jump, it’s up to you what you do but go out and show your support in a physical action, not a click of your finger. JustGiving.com is a great and relatively easy way to raise money for cancer charities which, as it goes without saying, are always in need of funding.
Similar to the above, but less physical for those of you who are unable to partake in an epic hike up Kilimanjaro. You can fundraise or help others to fundraise by volunteering, whether working in a charity shop, handing out water at a sponsored run or even interning at the head offices of a cancer charity. Volunteering is not just great for those you are helping but it is clearly beneficial for you too, to boost your CV and your character. We can’t deny we all love the feeling of being a do-gooder and volunteering is a great way to do this.
Whether you’re at University, still in school or at work you can organise a group of people to fundraise and increase real understanding of the topic. For example, set up a cancer awareness group, go out and shake a bucket, hold a bake sale, or just as importantly, hand out information and speak to people on the street. Raising awareness means you need to provide information about the situation. It’s all well and good posting on Facebook, “yeah cancer is bad – let’s stop it,” but who is that going to influence? You need to hit people with the hard facts, for example, did you know in the UK there were a higher number of men diagnosed with cancer in 2011 than women?
May sound like a pretty obvious one, which it is but learning about different types of cancer, who they affect and what you can do to help is extremely important. For example, Breast Cancer awareness is huge in the UK; the pink ribbon is an internationally known emblem for a very important cause. But, and this may sound controversial, I feel that sometimes the other forms of cancer are forgotten and the fundraising is not as equally distributed. Take for example testicular cancer, this has had nowhere near the same amount of recognition and fundraising in the UK as breast cancer receives. But this is changing, the recent Men United V Prostate Cancer campaign aims to appeal directly to men, raise awareness, answer any questions anyone may have and of course fundraise. So the point here is, cancer is male and female, young and old, black and white and we should be raising awareness of this and making sure fundraising is equally distributed.
Cancer in one way or another, in the past or present will affect us all and in 2014 it continues to be an extremely sensitive issue on the public agenda. Though the internet can prove to be a strong uniting force in rallying people behind a cause, it more often provides a curtain for people to hide behind, rather than pushing them into getting their hands dirty. So please don’t be an internet activist; if you really want to raise awareness of cancer – do something, volunteer, organise and learn about it.
If you would like to donate to cancer research it can be done here http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/donate or by simply texting BEAT to 70007.