This past weekend, seven girlfriends and I rented a house on Whidbey Island for a girls getaway weekend. There was lots of chill time – reading, playing pool, lounging by the fire, wearing pajamas until well past noon.
I think it was late Saturday afternoon while sitting in the hot tub when I turned to my friends and announced with a mixture of surprise and glee, “I don’t think I’ve even looked in the mirror today!” In that moment, it suddenly occurred to me that no comb had gone through my hair, no concealer used to dilute the circles under my eyes (which I could only assume were there), no mascara brushed across my eyelashes. There was something so liberating about just being with this group of confident, amazing women as we shared painful memories, laughed until our ribs ached, and spazzed out to 80s music (well, I think that was mostly just Sara and me), all without considering once what I looked like on the outside.
So I loved hearing about this inspirational group of Texas high school students who started a movement at their school called Redefining Beauty. One day a week, girls participating in the growing movement come to school makeup-free, with the goal of promoting self-confidence and female empowerment.
The founders of the movement, which has grown popular within their Texas high school and has started to spread to other schools in the area, are Samantha Gibbs, Lauren Gilby, Laura Kelly, Nina Smith, Emily Gates and Caroline Tessler. The girls say the inspiration for the campaign was Operation Beautiful, a campaign founded by friend and honorary Smart Girl Caitlyn Boyle, which encourages women and girls to post anonymous notes in public places for other women to find with a goal of reminding women that we are all beautiful, that we are all enough, just the way we are.
Says Redefining Beauty co-founder Samantha Gibbs, “We wanted to do something like that at our school and makeup is just one way for us to make girls feel like they are beautiful, and to shake that image that everyone sees, and know that you, yourself, are really beautiful.”
What I love most about this movement is that these girls aren’t just talking about the old adage, beauty is only skin deep – they’re owning it in a powerful way. By making the choice to not wear makeup, even this one day a week, these girls are getting to experience the same thing I experienced this past weekend – the joy of looking beyond appearance within a supportive community. And hopefully this is a community that will continue to keep growing and growing and growing…