When I first heard about this upcoming MAKEUP FREE ME campaign, I thought ‘Nice concept, but not for me.’ It’s all about encouraging women in to go ‘makeup free’ for one day – NEXT WEEK, Friday, AUGUST 30th – to show the world you can step out and be confident about who you are without any artifice.
It’s also about raising funds for an excellent organization – The Butterfly Foundation, which promotes positive body image and helps those with eating disorders.
And while I agree it all sounds lovely, I’m just not sure I’m brave enough to take part. I mean, it’s all well and good for the fresh-faced twenty-somethings out there, but for me? Just the thought of putting my face forward into the world without makeup is pretty terrifying. Okay, so I wear very little make-up to the gym – but at least a coat of mascara and a dash of eyeliner make me feel human.
The woman helping to promote it all is Merissa Matthew, who gave up a high profile marketing job about a year ago when she decided she’d rather ‘make a difference’ in our society. Negative body image is an issue she’s passionate about.
‘The campaign is not about makeup being bad but rather it’s about encouraging women to step out in confidence and show the world that beauty is more than just skin deep,’ said Merissa.
Cynical me had to ask, ‘But surely a lot of women are saying, HELL NO!’ ??
Nup. Merissa says it’s exactly the opposite. ‘Women absolutely love the Makeup Free Me concept and the positive body image message that is being promoted. Many women have jumped straight into the challenge whilst others have been a little hesitant. But that’s absolutely fine; it’s supposed to be challenging – to encourage us to stop and reflect on where we find our self worth,’ she said.
Well, I don’t value myself according to the foundation I put on my skin – I just think it looks a helluva lot better with the foundation on it. That’s all. And yes, I CAN do without foundation, but giving up mascara??? Hmmm… I’ll have to think on it. And if I DID go makeup free, should I post a blog and show everyone? EWWWWWWW…..
Merissa admits there are some women who HAVE said ‘No’. ‘Yes, some women who have said that they don’t feel comfortable going makeup free for the day and that’s okay. I recently received some really great advice from Travis Garone, founder of Movember. He said to me “Movember welcomes all but Movember is not for all.” He then proceeded to say that I must always remember that not all women will get involved and that I need to be okay with that. Wise words indeed, but I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything less from such a great man.
But let’s get to the WHY part of the campaign. And this is the bit where, if like me, you were initially reluctant, you might start to change your mind.
Merissa explained the facts and figures. Here are TWO that stood out:
– 90% of Aussie girls aged between 12-17 are on a diet of some type. (yep, that’s NINETY per cent!!!)
– Only 4% of women around the world can call themselves beautiful.
Merissa found these statistics shocking. ‘I had to ask myself the question as to whether I sat in the 4% of women? If I’m being honest, I would have to say that I probably fall into the 96%. I am on a journey, however, in discovering my value in who I am rather than what I look like and I want women and girls across the world to walk in this knowledge as well.’
Except that Merissa sent me through a photo of herself without makeup and well, HELLO, she’s stunning. I really hope she’s a long way into that journey because Merissa, if you read this, you ARE beautiful!
I had another question, which is a bit superficial. Why the hell pick a FRIDAY when most people go out that night of the week and might decide NOT to do the campaign for that reason?
‘That’s a great question,’ said Merissa. ‘The reason a weekday was chosen was because we wanted to ensure that we didn’t just hide away, makeup free in our homes on the weekend (which might be tempting). Specifically we chose a Friday because it gave us the extra challenge as most of us do head out and socialise with our friends.’
Right. Merissa is big on those challenges… Could I? Will I? Should I??
Hang on, surely it’s going to be an annual event. Could I do it next year instead? Is it going to be an annual event?
‘That’s definitely the plan. Now that the foundations are in place we can focus on increasing awareness each year and encouraging more Australian women and girls to participate. We also know however that negative body image is not just an issue in Australia. Our ultimate goal is to expand to other countries so that we can empower women and girls across the world to develop and nurture positive body image (but let’s not get ahead of ourselves),’ said Merissa.
And what about some fun stuff? Are there any events taking place? If I’m going to be going around scaring people without makeup, it would be nice to get together with some other nudie-faced chicks so we can all feel self-conscious together.
‘We have the Makeup Free Me Girls Night event on the Friday at Rivers Edge in Melbourne,’ said Merissa. ‘Whether women are registered for the campaign or not, we’re encouraging them to join us. Tickets are only $55, which includes canapés, drinks, giveaways and lots of entertainment.’
Of course all the proceeds go directly to the Butterfly Foundation and Channel 10’s, Natalie Hunter will be guest MC for the night.
Tickets can be purchased at http://www.makeupfreeme.com.au/events.
And if you’re interstate or overseas, why not organize your own Girls Night Out with a fund-raising game attached – and see if you can meet the challenge – NO MAKEUP for just one day.
If you’d like to register to take part, go to: http://www.makeupfreeme.com.au/register
I’m still thinking about it. But I AM leaning towards doing it. What do you think?
Watch this space.