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Lipstick refuseniks

IN recent days, we have been treated to a stream of female celebrities boldly parading their make-up-free faces.

It's all in a good cause: BBC Children in Need's "BearFaced" campaign.

But while I'm all for famous bods doing their little bit for good causes, something rings a little hollow. For a start, have you seen the photographs? We're talking flattering portraits that have been immaculately studio-lit to within an inch of their lives, not grainy snaps taken first thing in the morning on a disposable camera.

But clearly I'm missing the point. According to Countryfile presenter Julia Bradbury, the campaign is "liberating", while supermodel Heidi Klum adds: "I am a firm believer in encouraging women's empowerment."

Me too, Heidi, me too. But I was thinking along the lines of equal pay, decent childcare provision and better representation of women in parliament, rather than keeping our make-up bags zipped for a day.

Put it this way: if someone told me that I could never wear mascara or eyeshadow again, I wouldn't find it "liberating" or feel "empowered". The adjectives that spring to mind are "bemused" and possibly "disgruntled".

To wear make-up is a choice. I don't do it to "make my husband like me more" (I haven't forgotten that comment, Gwen Stefani), or as armour against the world. I don't feel pressured by society into wearing make-up, I do it because I want to. And on the days I don't, I simply go without.

What gets my goat, though, is the notion that a few celebs ditching their lippy should somehow be seen as brave. The implication is that going without eyeliner for a day demonstrates empathy with the disadvantaged children for whom they are raising money. It doesn't. And to suggest otherwise is insulting, shallow and, frankly, embarrassing.

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