The latest social media craze where women post a selfie of themselves with no make up on has helped raise more than £1million quid for Cancer Research UK in the form of 800,000 text donations in just 24 hours.
Women taking part in the craze have been accused of simply posting self-serving ordinary selfies 'masquerading' as a fundraising attempt. As well as being incredibly cynical this is simply not true. As the above figures clearly testify this trend has in fact raised actual pounds.
This, along with the undeniable increase in awareness amongst young women as friends tag friends, urging each other to upload a selfie (and check their breasts for early signs of cancer while they're at it) cannot be a bad thing. Yet women who've taken part have been called narcissistic, vain, arrogant, disingenuous... the witch hunt continues.
One Facebook comment I read accused women taking part of "perpetuating the idea that the most important aspect of femininity is image according to existing norms". Feeling the pressure to wear make-up on a daily basis and conform to expectations of what beauty looks like is a real issue for a lot of women, myself included. Maybe one of the reasons so many women felt compelled to take part in this craze was to liberate themselves from the insecurities and low self-confidence those 'existing norms' create. Even for just one selfie.
One woman I saw captioned her photo "For every like I get I'll donate £1 to cancer research". She got over a 100 likes. If this made her feel good about herself as well as raising money for charity then I really don't see what the problem is. And I would argue that there is a 'feel good factor' for most who raise money for charity. Those hating on our "self-obsessed" society of selfie-junkies should perhaps look a little closer at these photos and see they are far from the fantasy-self many ordinarily portray online. There is a plain honesty in these photos. The women taking part are united in that. It's strength in numbers.
Why are people angry that women who've posted have received 'natural beauty' acclamations from friends and strangers? Personally I think if women want to congratulate one another on their collective natural beauty this can only be a step in the right direction of mutual support and love; not to mention two fingers of solidarity up to cosmetics industry leeches who constantly suck on our waining self-confidence, bombarding us with photoshopped images of flawless faces airbrushed of 'imperfections'.
Perhaps rather than dousing it in negativity and bickering amongst ourselves, this online discourse could also be used to highlight some of the causes of cancer, such as the synthetic chemicals found in, you guessed it, cosmetics.
I told my friend she looked beautiful with no make-up on today, so did a lot of other people, in a very public forum. A win for women and a win for feminism if you ask me.
It was only last week Lily-controversy-Allen was sticking the knife into her sisters again by proclaiming us women are 'our own worst enemy': "I don't think men are the enemy. I think women are the enemy. I know that when I'm sitting in a restaurant and a really beautiful woman walks in, who's skinny, I instinctively think, 'Oh, she's really skinny and beautiful and I'm really fat and ugly.' So it's more of a competitive thing. It's weird. It's just really unhealthy and we're our own worst enemy."
Actually Lily, I object to your use of the word "we're". I don't need you to speak for me. I am a woman and I have my own voice and mind and guess what it doesn't think that when I see a beautiful woman, or a skinny one either for that matter.
Perhaps I am less insecure than Lily. Perhaps I am less insecure than a lot of women out there. But if posting a make-up less selfie and receiving some compliments made you feel happy today then good for you. Let's cheer each other on more often. And if you donated then even better, well done you. If like me you got caught up in the social buzz and hastily posted a quick selfie tagging your mates and urging them to check their boobs, but forgot to include information on how to donate, it's ok it's not too late. Just go back and add it in "TEXT BEAT to 70099 to donate £3". Easy.
Because do you know what, we should be supporting positive efforts like this to do some good in the world, not using them as an excuse for a slagging match.
I understand and agree with healthy debate and am often embroiled in a number of them myself. But to me this one feels uncomfortably like women getting stick for being confident and proud in their appearance. Why did nobody get annoyed about Movember? Was that not equally about showing off, interacting on social media and having a laugh? Yes and it also raised money. That should be applauded and so should these selfies.
One Facebook comment struck a valid chord suggesting that a more considered campaign could have stayed away from emphasising image altogether and inadvertently comparing the entirely incomparable bravery of a woman who goes through a mastectomy with a woman who 'dares to bare' her make-up less face.
Perhaps Breast Cancer Awareness UK are thinking up a perfectly politically correct, feminism advocating campaign right now that millions of women will feel instantly drawn to take part in. Or maybe they're just really really happy they've been given loads of money to keep working hard on finding a cure.
If this campaign has irked you to the point you felt compelled to spend two or more hours hashing together your bitterness into a blog post or damning Facebook status maybe you should have put that time into doing something good instead. Like raising some money for breast cancer research perhaps, instead of trying to tear down those who have.
On that note I've got a txt to send.
Follow Alice Carder on Twitter: www.twitter.com/alicecarder