Welcome to my newest blog post filled with your weekly update of my new epiphanies of my flawed character!
Seriously though, in the last year or so, I don’t know why or who is causing me to re-evaluate who I am, but I have discovered a lot of great traits I have and also a lot of things that maybe aren’t necessarily bad traits, but due to my lack of tact and my passion, come across as quite negative in the wrong light.
That’s my polite way of saying that I fucked up for the fifty millionth time on social media and therefore am doubting:
(a) why certain people have put up with my shit for several years, if they think I’m a pretty terrible person
(b) why I bother putting my opinions and thoughts on social media if they are contrary to the popular opinion
(c) how much my opinion really matters or is valued.
What, you may ask, caused it this time? Well expressing my opinion on Facebook about ‘breast cancer selfies’.
By now, unless you’re living under a rock, in the 1980s or a tree loving hippy who doesn’t need Facebook like some need cocaine, you would have heard about the make-up free selfie rage sweeping social media sites. Although it’s hard to pinpoint where this started and particularly when/where Breast Cancer got involved in the cause, it is thought that an online beauty retailer in the UK started it in October 2013 with their ‘dare to bare’ campaign that encouraged women to get sponsorship to go without make up on a night out, to work or even just on social media. From there it wasn’t long before actual Cancer Charity Organisations decided to get involved and in the UK and Ireland actually supported the movement, and made it quite simple to donate by simply texting in.
I posted this article on my Facebook, with a quote from the article as the title,
“Washing off your foundation, losing the mascara and posting a photo of a face that remains healthy and attractive is not brave. It is self-indulgent and offensive in the extreme to those you are professing to support.” If you’re too lazy to read, basically the article is written by a Brisbane Breast Cancer survivor who basically is against the whole movement because she feels as though uploading a make-up free photo is not showing any bravery of any form and isn’t doing a whole lot (particularly in Australia) to raise money.
A few days before my current post, I uploaded a simple question, “Not too sound rude, but I’m a little bit unsure how uploading makeup less photos are supporting breast cancer ? Anyone care to explain”. I received quite a few people who liked my status in agreeance that they were just as confused as I was by the whole movement and then I also received quite a few helpful comments about why that person participated and why they believe it is a good cause. I also had a few funny comments and photos such as;
” By writing this post, I’m raising awareness for unicorns born without horns.”
The general consensus was, yes you should be donating if you’re posting a photo and at least it has brought it to the forefront of people’s mind and is raising awareness
Since writing the status, I noticed a massive surge in more selfies, some were also showing proof of their donations or were placing links to make donations and urging others to do the same. However, personally on my Facebook there were a lot of girls who had hashtags of #braveforcancer or something like #ihatecancer. To be honest, most of these photos were in great light or had filters applied (and some I swear were actually still wearing makeup). Overall, I have to say, most people actually look so much better without makeup on than with it – give yourselves a pat on the back; you’re naturally beautiful.
However, I was getting a little bit frustrated that it seemed the point of this whole exercise was lost. As I said above, my understanding of the whole situation was that you were meant to donate and if you didn’t donate then why upload a photo saying you’re supporting cancer, when you’re actually just uploading a selfie. Hence why I uploaded the article talking about the ‘self indulgence’ surrounding the uploading of selfies.
So obviously this article and it’s strongly worded defiance against the no-makeup seflies, offended a few people. Once again there were people who said that really it’s not doing any damage so why does it matter and talking about the money it raised in the UK and speaking from their own experience of seeing loved ones suffer from cancer, that it wasn’t detrimental in any way shape or form.
I very much value any opinions, whether I agree with them or not, expressed to me via social media or in person, however the biggest issue with expressing an opinion on social media is that you can’t understand the tone or context associated with that post.
It reached a pinnacle however when a Facebook friend and I strongly disagreed on the ‘self indulgence’ and ‘bravery’ side of the selfies. Her argument was basically that she did not upload a photo, nor knows of anyone who uploaded a photo, for self promotion or to get a pat on the back. Regardless of whether you donated or not, that’s no ones business as you are helping with the awareness of the terrible disease. Also, that if you call uploading a photo self indulgent, then where does it stop? Is dressing in Pink in October self indulgent? Is participating in work place activities, like a pink dance, self indulgent?
My argument was that as a society we feel the need to be told that we are good people by doing the least amount of work associated with it and a lot of people only feel validated by their existence or their contribution to society unless it appears on social media – we’re all looking for that proverbial slap on the back to know that we are in fact a decent human being. I also argued that saying you are ‘raising awareness’ is just not good enough, because we are all aware of breast cancer and we are all aware that it is horrible – my opinion isn’t going to suddenly change by looking at a face without make up on. Overall, my argument is based on a strong feeling of knowing that there is so much that can be done to help so many vulnerable people or those in need, and yet so little seems to be done – uploading a selfie does very little, if nothing to help the cause, even donating $2 would make more of a difference than no donation.
A quick Google search will show that both opinions are pretty much supported 50/50 in the world at the moment.
The thing that upset me the most, and I felt quite horrible all of Sunday when this whole argument happened (just ask my little sister or partner, I spent almost all day crying or being angry or mad) because I knew my point of view was being taken out of context. I also spent the last few days questioning if I was in fact a bad person because of my views, and if I should change because obviously my views are not popular and clearly there are a few friends in my life who don’t know me very well at all.
I could sit here and talk about all the charitable things I have done in my life or why I’m entitled to feel a particular way, but I’m not going to. Obviously a few people in my life also really don’t know me that well, so instead I will tell you what I believe…
I believe that more should be done, in general. I believe that we as a society have the power to do an incredible amount of good and yet somehow we don’t. I believe that everyone is capable of making a difference and that the balance of power in the world is wrong. I believe that the individual needs to understand the power of the masses if we got up and worked together, we could make an incredible difference.
I believe that you should never, EVER seek gratitude for doing something charitable or blow your own horn – you obviously didn’t do it for the right reasons if you feel the need to gain appreciation for your own efforts. I believe that there needs to be a better distribution of money in the world – who the fuck deserves to get paid $12 Million dollars for a single movie, playing a game of sports or working in an investment bank, while there a more people living without access to basic water.
I also believe that as a society we need to be more educated about the world, and no, not just by accessing one media source underwritten by a hidden political and socio-economic agenda. I believe that too much time is spent worshipping celebrities and follow their lives than spent understanding the struggles of other people and appreciating truly charitable and selfless people (ever wondered why I admire Audrey Hepburn so much?)
I believe that this life is too short to spend every day doing the same thing – we should do as much as we can, while we can because we’re not going to be remembered for going to work everyday or for the amount of times we went to the gym, we will be remembered for what we did to make this world a better place, make those around us happier and for educating and helping others.
My biggest belief:
You can always do more – doing one good thing in your life does not make you a good person, nor does it exempt you from ever doing anything good again…
I have high expectations of myself, my family, my friends and in fact, society.
However, what I didn’t realise until this whole Facebook saga was that my expectations may in fact not be realistic and may seem like I am ‘belittling’ effort put in by others. This was backed up by the fact that a few months prior I had ‘criticised’ the Batkid story.
Now before you jump on the bandwagon of telling me I’m a heartless bitch (I am a ginger may I remind you, so I don’t have a soul), my whole argument was that 12,000 people banded together for 1 kid. I never said this was wrong or that he didn’t deserve it, but simply that it seems like a hell of a lot of people to support 1 American kid; why not support a whole ward of children suffering from Leukaemia? or make all of those individuals donate $10 to research into leukaemia, to make a difference to the greater community and world rather than just one child.
After being criticised more than being supported in both circumstances where I am simply begging for ‘more’ from society, it seems that my expectations of society may in fact be … unrealistic. I have never been ungrateful for any campaign or charitable event occurring, regardless of how little or how much has been raised. Although I may not express it directly, I am always grateful and supportive, however I am just asking as individuals that we push that bar a little higher. This view obviously comes across the wrong way or maybe in some cases is just not accepted.
My question is this, are my expectations, that as a society we work a little harder, challenge each other to do more in the name of charity and those less fortunate, and that individuals should actually contribute to a charity before they seek gratitude, unrealistic?
[We all have the power to make a difference, whether small or big, so I really pledge everyone to find out what they value and what they couldn’t imagine living without or coping with.. then find a REPUTABLE charity that you can help out or donate to.
Do a bit of research, we are all capable of making small differences to our lifestyles to help out the greater community. For instance consider these;
UNICEF Tap Project – How long can you go without your phone? For every 10 minutes you don’t touch it while using this app, major sponsors will donate 1 whole days water supply to those most in need. By using the donation option both within the app and online, you can provide a child with 200 days clean water for just $5. It’s time to go without something far less vital than water in order to make a real change!
Buy a Bottle of Thank You Water – Each bottle provides at least one month’s worth of safe water to someone in need and you can even track what a difference your purchase is making! Track Your Impact™ is a web app, accessible through smartphone or computer by visiting our Impact page, that connects everyday consumers with the impact made through their purchase.
Get Rid of Your Loose Change – who really needs coins these days anyway? Give them away, any time you get change put them in one of those little donation boxes. Empty out your wallet on a weekly basis into a charitable box.
Donate Your Unwanted Clothes/Goods to Charity or Sell Them and Donate to Charity – I see so many people these days trying to sell their clothes on line for $10/$20 when really, they probably don’t need that money. How about donating them to a Charity Bin? Or if you do sell them, give all the proceeds or most of them to charity who will need it more than you will.
Clean Up After Others – I know, we would expect that everyone would clean up after themselves, but they don’t. Whenever you’re out in public, at a park or the beach, pick up the rubbish you see scattered around and put it in a bin. You’re saving the environment one bit at a time.
Support Your Local Farmers/Start Your Own Farm – do you know how amazing it is to eat something you have picked from your own garden? Instead of supporting mass chains who monopolise the industry, support your local farmers and the local economy or even better grow it yourself. It’s best to look for those who do not use all the harmful insecticides and pesticides that pollute our planet and harm our wildlife.
Buy a Chicken! – I have 20 if anyone wants one? Seriously though, buy a chicken and get your own eggs that way. Although there are now free-range chicken eggs available, there is nothing better than having your own little free range chicken roaming about and laying eggs just for you.
Donate to Your Facebook Friends – I often see my friends participating in online fundraisers and quite often donate too; get in on it!