Every semester, my body image class and I celebrate an all natural day. It is just like what it sounds like– we all come to class just like our mama made us– no hair product, no slimming wear, no make-up. Just us with our skin, hair, and bodies, in their purest states.
For many people, it sounds easy enough. It sounds like every Saturday or, heck, Tuesday. And, yet, for some of my students– both male and female, it is terrifying. For whatever reason, they have come to believe that who they are isn’t naturally enough. They feel they need enhancements to have worth. And, trust me, I don’t have anything against enhancements per se, but when you begin to believe that your worth comes from those alterations– as opposed to thinking those enhancements are just a fun or unique part of personal expression or style- then disempowerment isn’t far away.
So, in an effort to help my students see that their worth doesn’t change if they change how they present themselves to the world, we go all natural, together, for a day. That day, is this Friday. Here are the guidelines we play by:
On Friday, October 18th from 6 am until 6 pm, we will be celebrating All Natural Day. That morning, feel free to take a shower, put on moisturizer (as long as it is not tinted or light-reflecting), brush your hair and your teeth but that’s where the primping ends.
Here are some things that should not be part of your All Natural Day:
Contacts (yep, wear your glasses!)
Weave or extensions (the clip in kind. If it’s sewn in, you can keep it there!)
Hair products (shampoo and conditioning in the shower are fine– no leave in conditioner, de-frizz or straightening products)*
Flat Ironing/ Curling/ Rollers/ Blow Drying
No slimming garments like Spanx
If you are a trans or gender-variant person, participate by not using items that you would consider appearance enhancements but please feel comfortable using items that are part of your identity.
I am sure I’ve left something off the list so, here’s the deal, if anything feels like it could be an enhancement, it probably is- so skip it. And while it would be tempting to just throw on sweats (and pull your hair back into a pony tail if you have longer hair), I encourage you to dress nicely for the day (whatever that means to you– just not sweats) and to wear your hair down- showing yourself that you don’t have to be dressed down in order to forego enhancements and forgoing the all or nothing thinking that often plagues us (if I am not wearing make-up, I don’t deserve to pay attention to myself or my body in anyway, sound familiar?).
Want to take the challenge one step further? If you are on a social media site, share a photo of you without the enhancements and encourage your followers/ friends to do the same. If you do it, please send me a link or copy of the photo! Want to tweet about it this experience? Do so under #allnaturalday.
This week, I would love for you to join my class in observing an all natural day– on Friday, October 18th or whatever day suits if the 18th does not. If you can’t completely go all natural in your life (for example, you can go make-up less to work but it would be frowned upon for you to walk in with wet hair from the shower), then, by all means, do what you HAVE to do but don’t do what you WANT to do.
Are you in? If so, what day(s) will you participate? Why did you decide to participate in all natural day? What are you looking forward to and what makes you nervous?
Here’s to loving the skin we’re in, as it is.