From time to time, there are media stories that crop up that we are asked to provide an opinion on. Depending on what the story is, it might pose a challenge for our small charity when we represent a community that includes thousands of people holding lots of different views and opinions.

What one person finds upsetting; another person might find amusing. While one person feels angry, another feels completely indifferent.  We have one thing that unites us together – hair loss – but we are all individuals with different thoughts and views.

The latest story to come to us is Ant and Dec’s use of a photo filter app that has been doing the rounds on various social media platforms this year allowing people to view the person their camera is aimed at without hair.

A post within our Facebook group echoes some direct messages we have received.  Some group members have expressed distress and upset at seeing the two popular TV presenters laughing as they use the app to remove their own hair and make this year’s ‘I’m a Celebrity’ contestants bald. However, other group members have not been upset by the presenters’ actions and have found their use of the app funny. 

What seems clear from watching Ant and Dec playing with this ‘bald app’ is that they were not intending to cause offence to anyone who has struggled with hair loss. We do not think they were laughing at the many people who lose their hair each year to alopecia. At one point Ant even comments that he ‘looks fit’ as a bald man, viewing himself positively without hair. Ant and Dec do not appear to be ridiculing baldness. The laughter appeared to be from the use of the technology. We do not believe it was used with any malice or that the pair are laughing at people who have lost their hair. 

We feel what we feel. All feelings are valid. It is perfectly understandable for some of us to feel triggered at the image of two popular presenters, with millions of followers, laughing whilst they strip hair (virtually) from the heads of celebs. And we also understand that many will laugh along with them, including many people with alopecia themselves.

Hence our ‘Caught between a rock and a hard place’ blog title. It is hard for us to speak for a group of people when individually you each hold such different views.

We want to acknowledge that apps that alter appearance can be triggering and upsetting for people with alopecia.  We also reflect that some people with alopecia have found humour in the app; and some have played with appearance altering apps themselves adding hairstyles or other features to photos.

Ant and Dec, if you are reading this now, we think you look great without hair and with hair.  Perhaps you’d like to take a look at our website and see the work we do? Perhaps it would inspire you to join us at our Alton Towers event next year and see the first-hand the work we do to improve the lives of those living with alopecia?   Or perhaps you’ll be so impressed by what we are able to achieve on a very modest annual income that you’ll be spurred on to make a donation to support our valuable work to improve the lives of those affected by alopecia.