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Why #SmearForSmear Selfies Aren't The Way To Beat Cervical Cancer

27/01/2015 17:55 GMT | Updated 29/03/2015 10:59 BST

This week Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are awash with pictures of women who've smeared lipstick across their own faces.

Surprisingly, these dodgy selfies are not the result of drunken make-up experiments.

Instead they're part of the #SmearForSmear campaign being run by Jo's Trust.

And sorry, but I'm not a fan.

The #SmearForSmear campaign is designed to remind women about the importance of getting regular smear tests.

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under the age of 35, yet one in five women in the UK do not take up their smear test invitation.

Clearly, something needs to be done to get women to attend their cervical screening.

But is asking women to draw all over their faces with lippy really the answer?

When the first #SmearForSmear selfies started popping up on my newsfeed, I couldn't help but let out a disappointed groan.

For me, the suggestion that women need yet another thinly-related social media campaign to make them take their health seriously is all a bit patronising.

Wondering if I was just being a big old charity-hating grump, I spoke to a few of my mates about #SmearForSmear.

Turns out, I'm not the only one who fails to see the connection between looking after your health and posting a selfie online.

One mate even referred to trends such as the Ice Bucket Challenge, No Makeup Selfies and #SmearForSmear as "self-indulgent bulls**t", but that's a whole other story.

The group of friends I spoke to are all between the ages of 22 and 27. All of us know Jade Goody's tragic story. All of us know smear tests can save lives.

Most women our age also have this information at their disposal.

So if that's not getting young women to visit their GP for a smear test, a bunch of women posting messy-looking selfies certainly isn't going to either.

The thing putting young women off getting smear tests - in my group of friends at least - is fear of the procedure itself.

What does the test actually involve? Does it hurt? Is it awkward?

The #SmearForSmear selfies don't answer any of these questions.

To really fight cervical cancer, we need more more information about the practicalities of smear tests.

We need to be told about smear tests earlier. We need to be given leaflets at university. We need our GPs to approach the subject before we get a letter in the post. We need our employers to be more open about time off for health-related appointments.

What we don't need, is to jump on another social media bandwagon.