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.