Stephanie Smith: What’s wrong with a little harmless vanity

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“There’s nothing I hate more than a smug woman,” rants Gregory Peck at the eternally serene Ingrid Bergman in Hitchcock’s 1945 psychological thriller Spellbound.

The film was on TV at the weekend, flickering in the background while I was cleaning the kitchen cupboards, but that particular line made me pause. It reminded me of comments I’d just been reading on Twitter and Facebook, mini-rants from those not impressed with the #nomakeupselfie phenomenon.

This, in case you have been sleeping all week, is the viral trend of women taking selfies (photos of yourself, usually on your phone) with make-up-free faces, and posting them on social media, while making a donation to Cancer Research and then nominating female friends to do the same.

It started last Tuesday, by Thursday it had raised £2million, and now £8million. As campaigns go, it’s been amazing, especially as it emerged randomly and grew organically, not managed or PR-ed.

But not everyone is happy. Some critics have said they feel uncomfortable with the idea that the “bravery” of posting a photo of oneself without make-up might be seen to link with the bravery of undergoing breast cancer. Some argue that it fails to promote true understanding and awareness of the disease.

Hardly anyone makes similar criticism of those who climb mountains, run marathons or sit in a bath of baked beans for charity, but when it’s women making an exhibition of themselves by sharing self-portraits? Well, that’s just showing off (and probably insensitive, maybe even a little bit sick).

Meanwhile, some say the #nomakeupselfie is just vanity masked as charity. It’s true that everyone looks pretty good in their snaps, which tend to be taken from above, with perhaps not all traces of eyeliner and mascara removed (and do I see a hint of BB cream?).

But so what? What’s wrong with a bit of harmless vanity? And no, most women do not think they are being brave by posting a make-up free picture of themselves – it’s ridiculous to think that they do. Many women spend all weekend roaming make-up free, simply because we can’t be bothered with it.

Perhaps the overriding criticism is that it’s just a lot of silly women behaving like sheep, mindless and woolly, clogging up Facebook and Twitter feeds when there is far more important stuff to share (like sport stuff ).

I detect more than a hint of general misogyny against the #nomakeupselfie campaign.

Sheep? If you like. But bare-faced sheep who are raising millions for Cancer Research.

Vanity, thy name is Selfie. Carry on snapping, girls – until you get a good one.

Twitter: @yorkshirefashQ