MARKS and Spencer are the latest organisation to release a social media selfie campaign in an attempt to raise money for breast cancer research. True to trend they've coined a hashtag: #showyourstrap. Women, including celebrities, have taken to social media to do just that, flashing their bra sraps in support.
...the #ShowYourStrap campaign has been accused of 'sexualising' the disease
As a part of the initiative, M&S have been working with seven women, all of whom have been affected by breast cancer, to launch and model a lingerie collection including a post surgery bra. Ten percent from each sale is donated to Breast Cancer Now.
The retail giant is not new to fundraising efforts and has raised over £20 million for breast cancer charities so far. With this new campaign, they set out to raise a further £13 million in five years.
In the main it's a valiant effort.
Despite their campaigning, the #ShowYourStrap campaign has been accused of 'sexualising' the disease, by both sufferers and survivors. Others consider it insensitive, as many patients of breast cancer have to undergo mastectomies, bra shopping can be an ordeal in itself.
The accusations keep on coming...
With only one post-surgery bra available, some believe the campaign is nothing more than a distasteful marketing ploy in order to promote their own underwear range designed by model Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley.
In response, rival campaign '#showyourscar' came into effect. Breast cancer survivors and sufferers retaliated by posting and hashtagging images of their battle wounds in order to show the real and raw face of the illness. The response has been met with praise, #showyourscar is the kind of hashtag selfie campaign for which the real motivation cannot be mistaken or ignored.
The same can't be said for previous hashtag campaigns such as the #IceBucketChallenge and the #NoMakeUpSelfie, while both aim to promote awareness and raise money, the message often becomes dilluted, lost amongst vain self promotion on Twitter and Facebook. Yes, money was raised, but was awareness? Really? Is simply throwing a bucket of ice cold water over your head for a laugh offensive to the plight of ALS sufferers? Is not wearing make-up for one photo trivializing the hardships of cancer?
Still, all publicity is good publicity, and despite the driving message behind the hashtag campaigns being lost on much of the the participants, it doesn't stop the fact that each campaign so far has raised millions for their chosen charity. Granted that if everyone who had uploaded a selfie had also donated (like they were supposed to) then there would have been a lot more money raised. Still, you can't get through to them all.
And let's face it, we'd much rather have our social media feeds saturated with charity hashtag campaigns than some spoilt kid hunting for likes to bag a free pair of trainers...
Fighting the same fight is supporting the same cause: #showyourstrap #showyourscar #beatbreastcancer