No Shave November

I’ll be honest: I love No Shave November. No, not because I like a good beard, although I really don’t have anything against it, but because I can shamelessly kick off my hairy winter coat while cracking a few jokes about my prickly legs. Here in Spokane, Washington we are just beginning the cold, gray, inevitably snowy season and what better way than to add a natural layer of warmth? It may seem that this is just a good excuse for men to avoid the razor, but there is actually a context to this tradition. Some men participate in this not only for fun, but also to raise awareness and funds for mens health.

One of my good friends at Gonzaga University proposed a new idea- she felt everyone should have a commitment to themselves the same way some men do during this month, Ally Crha asked a group of seniors to participate in No Makeup November. Her aim is to allow more people to feel comfortable in their natural skin, and to challenge the institution of beauty and the implications that come from makeup versus no makeup. She posted this idea in one of our Facebook groups, and it was met with overwhelming support and enthusiasm.

This idea of stripping ourselves of the mask our culture has taught us to wear is admittedly scary; I am not ashamed to say I am hesitant towards this challenge. I began thinking, what part of me not painting my face every morning makes me feel uncomfortable, or furthermore vulnerable in a way that I am not used to? I realized this part of my routine is me becoming the person I have cultivated, and not necessarily my normal self. Think about it: we spend hours in the morning blow drying, curling, putting foundation on topped with bronzer, mascara and eyeliner, lipstick and blush.  These things aren’t inherently bad or wrong, but the way we feel pulled towards them becomes problematic.

I challenge you to make a commitment to yourself and try and live in your natural skin. More importantly, though, spend time thinking about what it means to unmask yourself, and why that is comfortable or not for you.