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Musogyny: To thine own seflie be true.

Everyone knows it’s a man’s world out there (thanks James Brown), but there is none more so than the big bad world of music. From Miley’s twerking to Sinead’s slut shaming, these last months have seen an upward trajectory in the debate around gender issues within music. Rest assured that we here at Planet Notion will be keeping a keen eye on all things sexism. And there may even be some naming and shaming along the way…

These last few weeks have seen more celebrity photos sans makeup than a double-paged Closer expose. Forget all those long lens cameras and enlarged white ringed slip-ups, this time they have all been offered up freely and entirely by the subject themselves.

For those who have somehow missed the barrage of #nomakeupselfie on their various social media news feeds, the phenomenon see’s all kinds of women peel back the layers in a successful attempt to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Old school friends, people’s Mums, colleagues and ex-partners new girlfriends – you name it, we now know what everyone looks au natural.

Commendably, the campaign has so far raised a staggering £8m for breast cancer research in just six days and has no doubt managed to raise awareness far beyond that, with followers of both sexes catching on to the cause even if they haven’t reached into their pockets or snapped themselves fresh faced.

Started by an unsolicited fundraiser in Stoke, the campaign went viral virtually overnight and as the total continues to rise daily more people are jumping on the good cause bandwagon. As expected, celebrities have gone in full heartedly with musicians VV Brown and Samantha Jade joining pop stars such as Atomic Kitten’s Jenny Frost and Liberty X’s Michelle Heaton on the list of those going face-naked for charity.

The idea of using self-captured images for fundraising and awareness is nothing new though as campaigns have increasingly been seen to latch onto social media’s talents at mass communication. Online campaigns such as #standbyme and #whoneedsfeminism have all played on society’s need to share oneself digitally.

It is wholly unsurprising, in the year that saw the word selfie added to the Oxford Dictionary and increase in verbal usage by over 17,000%, that charity now comes hand in hand with vanity. If #nomakeupselfie puts money in the bank of cancer charities then fair play, but with modern popular culture continually pushing women to validate themselves through filtered Instagram pictures and Facebook likes, isn’t it bittersweet that the only way to kick-start people’s charity is through online narcissism.

Yes, the funds raised speak for themselves and in this case justify a means, but how many Facebook likes, retweets and Instragram hearts have been gained on a purely skin deep judgement? The cynicism doesn’t lie in the fundraising; instead it lies in the self-serving selfie. In their entirely posed and poised pre-mediation lurk, so many irksome questions about female body image and projection.

The selfie is essentially a tool to peacock, even when no make up is at play, and the nomination aspect of this campaign adds a layer of peer comparison that doesn’t sit well.

This week, the first case of selfie addiction was made public in the UK by teenager Danny Bowman and entirely culpable was the online comparison of himself to his peers, albeit hand in hand with existing low self-esteem.

It is fair to say that we now live in a world where people can be obsessed with the online version of themselves, and surely this #nomakesupself is another stripped back form of that self-promotion and validation.

Despite the controversy, an incredible chunk of money has been, it’s just a shame that for us to take notice and give to breast cancer charities it had to revolve around our looks, and in the process it has become just as much about us as it has the cause.

- Sarah Joy



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