It is difficult, really, to take issue with a charitable campaign, especially one that is part of an organisation so engrained in the British psyche as Children in Need. Who hasn’t got fond memories of Pudsey and his friends infiltrating our primary schools for one day in an otherwise gloomy November, to fill it with games and cake sales and sponsored anarchy in the name of fund-raising? And although I am a sucker for the use of a great pun, the Bear-faced campaign they’ve launched this year is all a bit unsettling. The basic premise of it is that women go make-up free for a day, and have this act of unprecedented bravery rewarded through gaining sponsorship for Children in Need. It’s all just a bit depressing, the way it treats an un-made up woman as something rare, unnatural and almost freakish. I generally choose to slap a bit of eyeliner on every morning, but it shouldn’t be remarkable on the days that I don’t. It certainly shouldn’t be ‘brave’.
The women included in the advertising for the campaign are generally all young, beautiful and photoshopped anyway, and the message sent out that even models such as Abbey Clancey aren’t fit to be seen in public without their make-up unless it’s expressly for charitable benefit is just, well… it’s just a bit weird. And offensive. It serves to jam the knife into the collective consciousness of ordinary women even further. God forbid men should be subject to the actual faces of real human women. The Bear-faced campaign ultimately increases the societal pressure to be flawless that girls face from pre-pubescence, rather than negating from it, whilst normalising the amount of effort women are supposed to put into their appearances further. And that is just unbearable. (sorry)
-Louisa Ackermann @louisavivienne