Selfies Shaping online Awareness

The Selfie is something that is criticised over and over as something that promotes vanity and self absorption to the point where a television program about a self obsessed socialite (not Kim K, but nice guess) was created in 2014, titled, you guessed it, Selfie.

As you can imagine, there is plenty of opinion about how selfies are dangerous, and there have been very recent examples showing how the selfie can be addictive and can be the cause of mental illness.

Personally though, my favourite repercussion of the selfie is high-schoolers getting head lice. Classic, right?

Overall I would have to agree, selfies are by nature narcissistic, but it’s important to ask whether or not that is a bad thing. Many successful business men and women are narcissistic – It’s a quality in some job circles rather than a negative attribute – People who know what they want and know how to get it.

This then brings us to another question, can the selfie and possibly this narcissism be used for good? And the answer is an resounding yes. You have probably heard of the no make up selfie, where anyone online would take a selfie without make up on, as well as (in theory) making a donation to cancer charities. This exercise of maybe looking as nice as you might like but posting a photo anyway (or, just doing what you normally do because you know not everyone wears make up anyway but if you do that’s still cool I bet you look great no jokes) managed to net 8 Million pounds of donations in the UK over 6 days, and even more globally. Isn’t that nice? See, the selfie isn’t so bad after all.

Of course this campaign drew criticism, with journalist and cancer survivor Kim Stephens taking a stand against it, saying “…I would have mustered what little strength I had to beat them with my drip stand. Violently.”

 If someone had shown me their no make-up selfie when I was in the midst of chemotherapy hell three years ago, I would have mustered what little strength I had to beat them with my drip stand.


She also asks “is there anyone out their unaware of cancer?” in response to the no-make-up seflie being as part of an awareness campaign. With this question, I think it’s important to consider other awareness campaigns. For example, I don’t think you or I could meet a single person who was not aware of Breast Cancer. It is arguably one of the most funded areas for cancer research and we have Breast Cancer Awareness month every October, but is it cured? Nope. So continuing to remind people to donate when they can, and keeping them aware is a very important task – Even if you don’t agree that it should be done with selfies.


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