My jaw dropped last week, seeing a lady sitting in the window of a café, pouting into her phone, and with a flick of the hair, taking a selfie. What has happened – since when did taking photos of our ‘best face’ become an acceptable – and public – past-time? No one actually looks like their mirror self – so is trying to capture it healthy?
This dubious exercise in vanity has been turned on its head with the 'no make-up selfie' going viral on social media. Thousands of women are taking the ‘challenge’ of posting photos of themselves without make-up, with the hashtag #beatcancer. The campaign has raised more than £2 million to date, and the nominations to go bare are flooding Facebook. The money raised is a good thing – I can’t argue with that. But in the process, aren’t comments such as “you still look great!” just teetering on the patronising?
One thing’s for sure though. If cancer were to affect me, I would like to walk into a Maggie’s Centre. Set up in 1996, there are 14 centres across the country, providing sanctuary for anyone dealing with cancer, for emotional, physical and social support. The buildings are inspiring, light-filled and protected. The gardens around them are welcoming and special – and I have long admired Dan Pearson’s landscaping around the Hammersmith centre. A softly meandering path takes you through naturalistic planting that is a world away from the choking traffic of the nearby road. The feeling of sanctuary - so clearly at the heart of Maggie's centres - abounded on a walk through its garden last week.