• Wed, Nov 20 - 9:30 am ET

Christian No-Makeup Movement Will Make You Want To Wash Your Face

no-makeup-november

I know you’ve heard of Movember, sometimes called No Shave November, where dudes grow out their facial hair during the month of November. But a Christian group for girls, Rave Ministries, has started No Makeup November, the feminine answer to Movember. And you guessed it—it’s a month in which women and girls don’t wear makeup. You know, so they can discover their “true beauty.”

The movement was apparently inspired by the bible verse Solomon 4:7 (which I had to Google because I’m a total heretic). The campaign started last year, but this is the first year it’s had a sizable number of participants who are interested in finding their “inner beauty.” Rave Ministries estimates about 4,000 people are participating this year. Here’s what their website says about No Makeup November:

Our hearts desire is that this campaign will speak to the hearts of women and men in every walk of life all over the world.That for one month kids, teens, mothers, and grandmothers will relish every opportunity possible to see the true beauty that God has breathed in them.
…This beauty is not measured by ones ability to cover a “blemish” or the quality of makeup that their pocketbooks allow them to buy. It is our hope that women everywhere can see themselves as a true masterpiece intricately and purposefully woven together by the Creator of the universe.

Now, there’s a lot of things in this movement that I balk at. Namely, the notion of “true” beauty and the seeming implication that you can’t find or know or have your own “true beauty” (whatever that even is) if you’re a women who wants to wear makeup. That’s just not true.

Many women wear makeup and cosmetics because it makes them feel confident, assertive, happy, pretty, put together, polished, strong…the list goes on. Not every woman is motivated to wear makeup to fit into society’s exacting beauty standards. Honestly, your relationship with makeup is your business; It shouldn’t matter to anywhere when you do or do not wear it, how much you wear, or what your reasons are for doing so, so I’m a little bothered by the underlying assumption of No Makeup November that makeup is somehow masking or obscuring womens’ true natures.  I’m also not a Christian, so the focus on finding your true beauty as God’s “true masterpiece” feels kind of icky to me, also.

But I have to say I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world for women to discover that they’re beautiful without makeup, even if it is through a contrived month-long challenge. In particular, this quote from Rave Ministries actually sounds like something I could totally get behind:

This campaign in no way is an anti-makeup campaign, because let it be known that it is not the makeup that we are battling. Instead, it is a culture that we are trying to fight. A culture that tells our young girls, mothers, and yes, even grandmothers that they are not close to being good enough. That in order to be of worth you must be physically beautiful, that unless you are a specific size you should be cast out, that the true amount of your worth is based upon one simple yet important factor, ones physical appearance.

The Gloss is a fashion and beauty site, yes, but we’re also feminists who make it a priority to point out the hypocrisy of society’s beauty standards. I mean, models are reportedly Photoshopping themselves on Instagram, celebrities lie about their diets, girls are sold clothing and accessories while boys get toys and games, and one cross-eyed girl is supposed to change the fashion world for good. It’s hard out here for a lady. So, encouraging women to appreciate themselves for who they are—not what they look like—is far from evil. In fact, it can be really empowering.

I’m sure that for many of the woman participating, No Makeup November is valuable and is helping them discover new things about their relationship with their bodies and their own self-worth. Maybe it’s even boosting their self-confidence. Honestly, I can’t find total fault with that, even if it does come in the trappings of Godspeak.

Photo: No Makeup November on Youtube

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  • Cassieleigh

    Why is it that I’ve only just heard of this? It’s a great idea – especially if they could tie it to some kind of cause like Movember is for prostate cancer. If I had to pick one, I’d pick something like the Pink Gang or the Women’s Global Empowerment Fund.

    Though, I have to ask, what’s “icky” about the idea that you’re created perfectly? Is it just the idea that a deity had a hand in it?

    • NeuroNerd

      I think the idea is perceived as “icky” because Christian groups have a history of telling women how to dress and act. There’s a big focus on “modesty”, and make-up can be seen as a vain pursuit.

      In other words, it’s a great idea to empower women to not wear make-up, but the underpinnings are not entirely altruistic.

    • Charmless

      You hit the nail on the head here. There’s nothing wrong with believing that you’d still be beautiful if you didn’t shave or wear makeup or color your hair. In fact, that’s something we should be striving for and getting all dolled up should be a matter of self-expression and not something we do in order to love ourselves more and get other people to love us.

      BUT

      Christian groups tend to make their agendas about purity = good and no makeup = purity, which means makeup = impure. The words say “You are beautiful without makeup!” but the underlying message is “Women are supposed to be virginal and innocent and not painted hussies.” Subconsciously, that video is saying that women who are made up are being judged as having poor self-esteem and less worth. It still equates a woman’s value with her looks, which is bloody wrong, even if the intention seems good. You’ll never see a video that encourages a man to love himself by altering (or not altering) some aspect of his appearance.

    • Cassieleigh

      I see where you’re coming from. It could easily appear that way. But considering the group starting this is created by women, for women, I have a hard time coming to the conclusion that they think women who wear makeup are “painted hussies” and that they have self worth issues because they wear makeup.

      I think what they’re ultimately trying to say is that looks are irrelevant. Dolled up or dressed down, people (men, women and etc.) are worthy and beautiful “as is.” And they’re picking a way (no makeup) and a time (November) to raise awareness of the concept.

    • Cassieleigh

      That clarifies the statement. Cheers! I was wondering what that meant.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      ” it’s a great idea to empower women to not wear make-up, but the underpinnings are not entirely altruistic.” EXACTLY

  • Fabell

    I’m so confused by the video— I guess they’re trying to be like, “look at all this makeupppp, isn’t it so time-consuming”(?) or something? But it’s weird how the end is this fully makeup’d girl, with NO MAKEUP NOVEMBER emblazoned over her. I thought maybe the end would be her washing it off? (Clearly overthinking this, but)

  • http://poorgoop.com/ Samantha

    This is a pretty cool idea, even if some of the language they use won’t sit well with everyone. @Cassieleigh is right that it’d be even better if they joined with a pro-woman charity.

    My new year’s resolution this year was to go one day a week without make-up, just to try to develop confidence and to quiet that annoying anxiety voice in my head that everyone is judging me all the time. It’s been really beneficial, and my skin seems to like the break as well.

  • Jessie

    1) That girl is wearing makeup. I’m confused. Are we supposed to wear makeup that makes it look like we’re not wearing makeup? 2) Why do I need to order some kind of package from the organization to just stop wearing makeup for a month? 3) My makeup routine takes 5 minutes every morning. It’s not the huge ordeal they make it out to be. 4) I agree that ladies shouldn’t have to wear makeup if they don’t want to (I wouldn’t if I didn’t feel like it was expected at my office job), but not for Jesus reasons. For the reason that your worth should not be determined by how pretty you are.

    • Amanda

      Your reason IS a Jesus reason. It’s a huge part of Christians believe. That our worth is determined by how we look (ie “how pretty you are”) but by Christ. So while I understand that you think people shouldn’t do it for “Jesus reasons”, the reason you give IS a Jesus reason.

    • Jessie

      Well, it’s not a Jesus reason for me because I’m not a Christian. Framing it as a Christian issue alienates non-Christians.

    • Amanda

      Well it’s obviously geared towards Christians, not non-Christians. There are lots of things that aren’t geared at Christians. There are lots of things geared towards specific groups, like the LGBT community, the Mormons, men, women, children, black people, Chinese people, farmers, Jewish people, etc. So why can’t Christians have something aimed just at Christians?

  • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

    Am I the only one who thinks this would be a great makeup tutorial if they slowed it down? I guess I missed the point. This is like trying to get people to lay off drugs by showing them how awesome getting high is.

  • Ali Reed

    why is the video of make-up being put on rather than being taken off? I’m confused. :/

  • rham

    wait…. im confused with the video…

  • Amanda

    Once I did a project for school (in which we picked what we wanted to do ourselves) in which I went without doing my beauty routine (doing my hair with a straightener or curler or putting on any makeup or “dressing up”) for two weeks and at the end of the two weeks, I felt more confident as a person, I felt like I was more beautiful without any of the extra stuff, and I even had a couple of guys tell me that I had been looking great for the past week or so. Now I hardly ever wear makeup unless it’s a special occasion or just a day when I feel like it. While I in no way look down on any woman who chooses to do a beauty routine daily that takes 30-60 minutes or anything like that, I think that doing something like this at least once in your life is really good for you as a person and can really help break you of some of the stereotypes that society forces on us and that we might be subconciously believing.