Leaving Behind the Word “Normal”

You’ve probably seen the term “normal” used to describe skin and body types, along with nearly anything else in your life. Normal is a subjective term that often suggests there is some collective sense of normality. It can also connote a value system where straying from the standard is deemed wrong or undesired. We’d like to discuss the move away from the word normal by diving into the origins and myth of the term, along with brands no longer using the word, and powerful reasons why it’s okay to embrace your abnormality.

The Origins of the Word “Normal”

“Normal” is derived from the Latin normalis, which means “made according to a carpenter’s square, or forming a right angle.” According to Mirriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, in Late Latin, normalis had new meanings, including “according to rule” and  “according to, constituting, or not deviating from an established norm, rule, or principle.”1

Author Johnathan Mooney explained in his book, Normal Sucks: How to Love, Learn, and Thrive Outside the Lines, that normal is “a word that masquerades as an ever-present universal truth.” He said when the word was first used in Latin, it had nothing to do with people, society, or human behavior.2

Normal and normalis were words primarily used by Latin mathematicians, specifically in geometry to describe a right angle. Mooney explained that over time, it became a universal mathematical truth that a right angle is considered to be a perfect angle. According to Mooney, this is where the meaning of the word normal became both a fact in the world and a judgment of what is right.3 

Bernoulli, Quetelet, and Galton’s “Normal” Research

In 1713, the Swiss mathematician Jakob Bernoulli created the calculus of probabilities. This equation was then taken up by statistical thinker, Adolphe Quetelet, who applied the equation to human beings. In 1835, Quetelet gathered large amounts of statistical data to calculate the most commonly occurring features of the “average man.”4

Quetelet’s research had a vital flaw as he believed his “average man” was also the perfect man. In his research, Quetelet interchangeably used the words “normal,” “regular,” and “average.” In his mind, the words all meant perfect. However, it’s important to note that his research excluded people with disabilities and people of color.5, 6

As Peter Cryle and Elizabeth Stephens wrote in their book, Normality: A Critical Genealogy, Quetelet’s work did all that it could to reduce the gap between the actual and the normal/ideal.

English statistician Francis Galton later updated Quetelet’s work and created today’s concept of normality.7, 8, 9

Exploring the Myth of “Normal”

The word and definition of normal, as used in modern times, is viewed as a sort of myth to many; it tells us that being within the range of what is considered normal is the way to be a thriving member of society. Normality is usually assessed by being in or around the average for any given trait.

Normal vs; Abnormal

Pictured: The “normal” in various discourses   Source: Critical Perspectives

Due to this, it’s largely assumed that, with a few exceptions, it’s best to be as normal as possible to fit in with those around you. This notion implies that being average can be seen as perfect, but if you stray too far from the average, there is something wrong with you — you aren’t being human the right way.

However, humans are remarkably diverse — it has served us well in the past, it’s with us in the present, and it’ll benefit us in the future. For the beauty industry, the rise of “inclusive beauty,” which refers to beauty that caters to all individuals, has helped phase out the word normal when describing skin type, body type, gender, and so on.

When Fenty launched in 2017 with 40 different foundation shades, it sparked a shift in the makeup industry. This revolutionary time in beauty helped other brands realize that diversity is a priority, rather than an afterthought, and that there is no “normal” when it comes to beauty and humans. 

Brands Are Moving Away From Using the Word “Normal”

In 2021, Unilever, which includes Dove, Axe, Shea Moisture, and more, made a pledge to drop the word “normal” from its beauty and personal care brands’ packaging and advertising. This step is part of the corporation’s Positive Beauty Vision, which aims to eradicate exclusionary language and outdated beauty ideals when it comes to beauty products. In particular, how we talk about skin and hair.10

Sunny Jain, former president of Unilever’s beauty department, said of the beauty industry: “With one billion people using our beauty and personal care products every day and even more seeing our advertising, our brands have the power to make a real difference to people’s lives.” Jain’s hope is that this will shape a “broader, far more inclusive definition of beauty.”11

Sarah Degnan Kambou, president of the International Center for Research on Women, echoed this sentiment: “In order to champion equity, we need to challenge these restrictive ‘norms’ and create societies and communities that celebrate diversity and the unique qualities and ideas that each person brings. Beauty is no exception.”12

Unilever says that seven in 10 people agree that using the word “normal” on product packaging and advertising is dismissive. The brand states that for younger people aged 18 to 35, the number increases to eight in 10.13 This shows that the change is welcome and will help many people feel as though they aren’t being excluded when shopping for beauty and personal care products.

Uniliver Ad

Pictured: Unilever ad    Source: Ad Week

3 Powerful Reasons To Go Beyond “Normal”

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”

― Maya Angelou

The quest to be what society often deems as “normal” can prevent us from doing anything out of the ordinary in life. As humans, we are all extraordinary and are born to be different. Here are three powerful reasons to forego normalcy and embrace what makes you special:

  • Normal is subjective. The idea that there is some ideal standard all humans should conform to is unrealistic and can be psychologically limiting. All you can do is trust in yourself, honor your values, and do what makes you happy. 
  • Normal is not easily defined. It’s often easier for people to define the term abnormal than it is to nail down a definition of normal. The reason for this is that there is no clear definition of what normal is; it’s only when someone deviates from what is generally conceived as ordinary that people become concerned with such labels. Instead of worrying about being normal, create your own definition that fits you and your life.
  • Perfection does not exist. Often, when people are trying to be normal, what they’re really trying to achieve is perfection. Perfection is unattainable, and when you strive for it, you may end up focusing too much on perceived flaws and not enough on strengths. Instead, choose to find the beauty in the imperfections.

Don’t Be Normal, Be You.

Humanist Beauty will always stand for radical inclusivity and diversity. Our founder, Jennifer Norman, is a groundbreaking Asian-American woman who has made it her life’s work to inspire life beyond the “normal”. She built Humanist Beauty and The Human Beauty Movement, our parent company, from the ground up in an effort to send a message to the world that all humans are extraordinarily unique. At Humanist Beauty, we know there’s no such thing as normal; there is extraordinary power in your specialness and every day is an opportunity to become the best version of you.   



References: [1][2][3][4][5][7][9] [6][8] [10[11][12][13]


A Guide to Inclusivity

The words “inclusion” and “diversity” are so often joined that they are commonly treated as a single term; however, these words mean different things. Author Vernā Myers, an advocate for diversity and inclusion, puts these terms into perspective by saying, “Diversity is being invited to the party, while inclusion is being asked to dance.” In this blog, we will explore the meaning and importance of inclusion through the understanding of oppression and “isms,”  tribalism, and unconscious bias, while also exploring a few brands putting inclusion at the forefront of their business model.

Inclusion, Diversity, Equality, and Equity Defined

“We should try to leave the world a better place than when we entered it.”— Michio Kaku

To start off, it is helpful to define exactly what we mean by inclusion, diversity, equality, and equity. 

Inclusion is involvement and empowerment, where the inherent worth and dignity of all people is recognized. An inclusive environment promotes and sustains a sense of belonging; it values and practices respect for the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living of its members.

Diversity is the range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs.

Equality is the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources and opportunities, regardless of their circumstances. 

Equity recognizes that each person has varying circumstances and needs, and therefore different groups of people need resources and opportunities allocated to them accordingly to thrive.

Understanding Oppression and “Isms” as a System

In the world today, everyone possesses or is possessed by an “ism.” An ism has various definitions. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it is defined as “a doctrine-theory-religion; prejudice or discrimination based on a specified attribute; and adherence to a system or a class of principles.”

Initially, isms were associated with religion; Buddhism, Judaism, and Hinduism are the most recognized religions that end with this suffix. However, over time, the definition of “ism” has taken on a connotation of repressive bias. For example, sexism is the practice of discriminating against a set of people based on gender, while racism is the systemic oppression of people based on race. These isms, along with many others, intertwine on personal, interpersonal, institutional, and cultural levels…

Personal Isms

The personal level is associated with our values, beliefs, and feelings about individuals different from ourselves. Growing up, we are given direct and indirect messages about our values. The institutions that we interact with as children and adults, such as schools, faith communities, and judicial systems, commonly support those values.

Since we are inherently grouped based on race, gender, class, religion, and other identities, we are also getting subtle and not so subtle messages of superiority or being the norm that others need to be measured against.

Interpersonal Isms

At the interpersonal level, the focus is on our actions, behavior, and language as we interact with individuals different from us. If one believes that “poor people are poor based on bad personal choices,” they may try to change these individual’s thinking by shaming them for their choices, lecturing them on making better choices to improve their life outcomes, or not taking into account the complexities of living in generational poverty.

Institutional Isms

The institutional level includes the rules, policies, procedures, and practices, which are written and unwritten within an institution that defines who is welcomed and can fully participate.

A written policy may state that only individuals with certain degrees or formal education can apply for certain jobs, excluding individuals who may have informal experiences or other wisdom that could be considered valuable for the position. 

An unwritten policy may be that as a male you need to keep your hair well groomed to be considered for a leadership role within the organization, possibly excluding men who grow their hair long for spiritual or religious reasons.

Cultural Isms

At the cultural level, the focus turns to how we define what is right, normal, truthful, or beautiful. These isms are projected through the social standards embedded in the media and accepted by a society. 

This could look like a national leader offering skewed cultural messages and then national conversations and policies being informed by this “truth.” These cultural messages and norms can be direct, indirect, or both, and serve to maintain power and privilege for those in dominant groups.

About Tribalism

Tribalism, understood as “groupness” or “group affiliation,” has been an inherent part of human history. Tribes have naturally formed to cohere groups based upon shared geography, family, interests, experiences, beliefs and/or values. While the phrase ‘finding your tribe’ is seen today as a positive sign of group belonging, the inherent byproduct is the “othering” of those who don’t belong. Tribal conflict ensues when a group battles with another for survival, resources, ego, and/or power. Competition between “tribes” of humans can be as serious as warfare or as jovial as cheering for a sports team.

Today, social media makes it easier than ever for individuals to connect with others and find new people that they relate to. Social communities can enhance life experience by fostering friendship and building rich connections. The discernment is to identify when social media algorithms create disconnect from others who are different or have dissimilar points of view. By expanding the people who you are connected to, social media can broaden your horizons and help you grow to become more inclusive.

The antidote to tribalism is dialogue, active listening, and breaking bread together in the search for understanding and common ground. Ultimately, our goal is to build the tribe we all belong to, which is that of humanity. When we can see each other as human beings, we change destructive tribalism into constructive tribalism.

About Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is the tendency to act from a range of assumptions and proclivities that we are not consciously aware of. This can include decisions or actions as well as hidden influences on decisions and actions that we believe are rational and based on objective unbiased evidence and experience.  

Gender bias in the workplace, for example, leads to predetermined views of talent, creating inequalities of men versus women. This bias leads to the thought that one gender may be better for leadership than others. 

We can combat unconscious bias by consciously asking ourselves, “Is there anything that makes this person more or less qualified than any other individual?” By implementing this critical thinking, we can more readily make an informed and unbiased decision on who should be promoted or hired for a specific role.

Usually, what we say represents our conscious beliefs, while what we do defines our unconscious beliefs. Nonetheless, our conscious beliefs often influence our subconscious. Interestingly enough, this thought process is a key factor in manifestation. By voicing, affirming, and living our conscious thoughts, we can change our reality into something more inclusive and diverse.

Dr. Karen Morley has researched how unconscious bias can affect the choices of individuals and has developed three ideas to combat unconscious bias:

  1. Having biases is normal; the key is to be aware of what your biases are, as this helps you actively manage them. You can measure your unconscious bias by taking the Harvard Project Implicit Test
  2. Take the time to deliberate over decisions. This allows you to reduce the likelihood that your unconscious beliefs will bias your decisions. Fast decisions usually rely on unconscious processes which increases the likelihood of bias. 
  3. Actions are the real test. Words can make a huge impact, but the truth is that actions can make an even bigger one. To take action at work, for example, try reading through policies and rules to see if they foster an inclusive environment. If not, you can bring it up to someone in charge.

Inclusive Brands Changing the Game

When ads accurately reflect consumers’ personal preferences, styles, and ways of living, they can create a sense of belonging and inclusion. Additionally, featuring people of distinct backgrounds in settings viewers can relate to can help build authentic connections with members of new target audiences. 

Here are a few examples of brands that are moving the needle on representation. They are widening the demographics used in their marketing to promote inclusion, diversity, and equality:

Good American

Good American 2022 campaign

Pictured: Good American 2022 campaign   Source: The Impression

A wonderful example of a brand widening demographics is Good American, which is led by Emma Grede and Khloé Kardashian. Good American has championed inclusivity and made it a mission to have every woman seen and heard. The brand has an annual nationwide casting call for diverse women to model in its seasonal ad campaigns and showcases a model in every size (00 to 24) on its website. 


Pictured: Nike’s full coverage swimsuits  Source: Nike Swim

Nike’s “Until We All Win” focus has inspired people all across the globe. The brand states, “Nike believes in the power of sport to unite and inspire people to take action in their communities. Equality isn’t a game. But achieving it will be our greatest victory. Until we all win.” Nike also goes beyond a campaign with expanded product offerings, such as its full-coverage swimsuits that feature hijabs. 


Dove’s long-running Self-Esteem Project Campaign (2004-2022)

Pictured: Dove’s long-running Self-Esteem Project Campaign (2004-2022)  Source: Dove

Dove, a Unilever brand, has created campaigns focused on real people — people of color, the LGBTQ community, and people of all ages and body types. Its “Real Beauty” campaign brings the brand down to the level of consumers, not to the level of models or people of a so-called “perfect” size. Dove has also shaped messaging for children, starting at critical ages, to eliminate negativity around body shape and size, such as with its “Self-Esteem Project” campaign.

Mattel’s Barbie

Barbie's Fashionista Line 2022

Pictured: Mattel’s 2022 lineup of Barbie Fashionista Dolls   Source: Good Morning America

Mattel has done a great job with Barbie in recent years by moving away from its traditional definition of “dolls” to take a more inclusive approach. This was partially driven by consumer sentiment, but the result is a much wider representation of children. The Barbie Fashionista Dolls of 2022, for example, feature dolls of varying ethnic backgrounds and include those with disabilities.

How to Be More Inclusive in Your Everyday Life

“Diversity is a fact. Equity is a choice. Inclusion is an action.” – Arthur Chan

It’s common to think that an inclusive model of behavior has to do with others; however, it’s important to start with ourselves and our own level of awareness and openness on the subject. Here are a few simple strategies to become more inclusive in your daily life:

  • Amplify more voices: Whether you’re on social media, run a blog, or share some sort of content regularly, it’s important to amplify and share more than one voice. If you have employees, utilize your team. Hear their stories, learn their skills, and let them be heard. To learn more about what it means to amplify diverse voices, you can listen to this episode of the Grow Kinder podcast. 
  • Promote accessibility. Whether you’re offering remote work, multiple channels of communication, or even having an elevator or wheelchair ramp, there are several ways in which you can improve the accessibility within your office. Click here to learn more about making your workspace more accessible and inclusive.
  • Be mindful in your communication. When communicating with those around you, be mindful of the tone of your voice, what you say, and how it’s directed. Forbes shared a great blog on mindful communication that may help if you’re struggling.
  • Be open-minded: Meeting new people and learning new things is one of the many “plusses” in life. So, when meeting these people, especially the ones that you may perceive as “different,” consider them, their life, and their talents with an open mind. Click here for a few tips on how to live life with an open mind.

Humanist Beauty Stands For Inclusion, Diversity, and Equality

The Humanist Beauty brand was developed with inclusivity, diversity, and equality in mind. The brand is part of The Human Beauty Movement (The HBM), a company with the mission to inspire acceptance and humanity of all people, regardless of race, age, skin tone, ability, gender, or beliefs. The HBM facilitates radically inclusive connections of humans to products, services, and each other so they can learn, grow, and thrive in a more inclusive and diverse world. You can join The HBM community here.

How do you feel about the state of inclusion in the world? Let us know in the comments!

The Origins of Beauty

From an ancient Roman anti-aging cream recipe to the 12th century “Trotula,” a set of medieval texts with formulas for skin care and perfumes, the desire to make ourselves more attractive stretches back through history. Rather than embracing the subjectivity of beauty, though, societies have instead categorized these qualities into beauty “standards.” In this blog, we’ll explore the many definitions of beauty, the Darwinian Theory of Beauty, the beauty standards that shaped history, and why these standards are still changing today.

What is Beauty?

I say beauty comes from within – you are beauty and beauty is you. You are a masterpiece – a work of art. There is only one you, made up of your genes and life experiences. And there will never be another. – Segun Garuba-Okelarin

The Oxford dictionary defines beauty as: “A combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight,” while philosopher and teacher Confucius said of beauty: “Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it.”

Popular phrases also define beauty as:

  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
  • Beauty is pain
  • Beauty is only skin deep

So what is beauty? Various cultures have different definitions and perceptions of beauty. From the Kayan tribes who believe that long necks are the ultimate sign of beauty and from age five, start priming their necks with heavy brass rings, to several parts of Asia where pale or white skin is often seen as a sign of beauty and affluence.

Maria-Alina Asavei, a lecturer and postdoctoral researcher in the Russian and East European Department at the Institute of International Studies at Charles University, says, “We often fail to make clear what we mean by “beauty,” even if we use this word quite frequently.”

Asavei continues: “When we appreciate something as beautiful, we implicitly accept that X is a source of positive aesthetic value or aesthetic appreciation. In the history of philosophical aesthetics, there are many theories and definitions of beauty. Despite differences, most of these theories connect the experience of the beautiful with a certain type of pleasure and enjoyment.”

Yet many would argue that by our very nature, there’s a certain universal set of indices that inform beauty. Alan Moore, a former designer, believes that beauty isn’t about what something looks like; he often speaks about it in terms of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Dirac’s theorem, spirituality, and the laws of nature.

“At an atomic level, everything is connected; they dance and are attracted to one another at a nuclear level. The law of nature seeks things to be made of symmetry and harmony, and even in opposites they’re complementary: we have night and day, up and down. We’re all made of the same stuff molecularly, so we intuit beauty – we know it to be the life-enhancing force.”

While Asavei and Moore have their own views on the definition of beauty, many other researchers, authors, and philosophers have also dipped their toes into the topic.

Denis Dutton: The Darwinian Theory of Beauty

Denis Dutton

Pictured: Denis Dutton   Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education

Despite the subjectivism dominating contemporary society, there are still some renowned authors who maintain that in beauty there is objective value, such as the philosopher Denis Dutton

Here is a breakdown of Denis Dutton’s TED Talk:

Denis Dutton developed a Darwinian Theory of Beauty. According to this theory, “The experience of beauty is one of the ways that evolution has of arousing and sustaining interest in order to encourage us towards making the most adaptive decisions for survival and reproduction.” 

As an example of natural beauty which seems to appeal to every human being, no matter our geographical provenance, he speaks of the savannah landscape. Dutton states that this landscape is where we have evolved and points out that it shows up everywhere today, like on posters and calendars.

Savannah Landscape

Pictured: Savannah landscape   Source: All Posters

To illustrate artistic beauty, which more frequently than not is deemed the result of cultural conditioning, Dutton offers us the Acheulean pear-shaped hand-axes associated with early humans, which were first found in France. Dutton argues that their sheer numbers show they cannot have been made solely for butchering animals.

Moreover, the fact that many of these hand-axes are too big for butchery and many others show no evidence of wear and tear on their delicate blade edges, seems to suggest that they served other functions. Dutton’s belief is that these artifacts are, in reality, the earliest known works of art. 

Pear shaped hand-axe

Pictured: Pear-shaped hand-axe   Source: Science Buzz

His reasoning for this is that they were transformed from practical tools into what Darwinians call “fitness signals.” These “fitness signals,” Dutton explains, work like the peacock’s tail, displaying to potential mates desirable personal qualities, which in the case of the Homo Erectus or Homo Ergaster would be signs of “intelligence, planning ability, access to rare materials, and fine motor control.” 

After Homo Erectus came Homo Sapiens, and as Dutton points out, they clearly found new ways to amaze each other: perhaps by telling jokes or dancing, through hair styling, storytelling, and so on. He continues on to highlight the fact that for us moderns, the element that has continued to matter is this aspect of how impressed we are by the skill of creating and doing something extraordinary. 

He jestingly tells us that the next time we pass by a window of a jewelry shop displaying a beautifully cut pear drop-shaped stone, we should not be so sure that it’s only culture telling us that that sparkling jewel is beautiful. The reality is that our forebears also loved that shape and found beauty in the skill needed to make it.

So concluding, he asks: ‘Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? No!’ he exclaims. Not at all! It’s rather deeply present in our minds and a gift handed down from the intelligent skills and rich emotional lives of our ancestors.” 

To learn more about Dutton’s theory, you can watch his TED Talk here.

How Beauty Standards Have Evolved

Beauty comes in all different forms; from art to design to fashion. However, physical beauty standards tend to respond to the shifting political and social landscapes, and they continue to change with the times, according to beauty and wellness writer Kari Molvar.

“So much about how beauty is being defined right now has a political undertone to it,” she said in a phone interview with CNN, noting how both the Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate movements have inspired responses from the beauty industry.

In her book, The New Beauty, Molvar charts the evolution of beauty standards and the forces that influenced them from antiquity to the present day. It’s a wonderful reminder that the idea of beauty has been shaped by everything, including industrialization, gender politics, and the media.

Beauty From the Land

In the 17th century, Europe was a growing center of global commerce. A network of trade routes brought exciting new foods to the continent. Pepper and sugar, as well as new meats, cereals, and grains, were now available. They were not only sold to the old upper class but also to the gentry, a new group of wealthy landowners.

“All of this naturally led to plumper bodies,” Molvar wrote in her book, “which forged a new beauty aesthetic.”

Renaissance artists, like Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens, helped popularize the fuller figure as a new body ideal. Buxom women with soft physiques were idolized on the easel with their dimples, ripples, and all. 

But it wasn’t entirely progressive, Molvar noted. “It’s a shape that is largely celebrated for its biological function, fertility,” she wrote. “And the ability to fulfill the desires of men.”

Peter Paul Rubens Painting

Pictured: A painting by Peter Paul Rubens showing the ideal beauty standard for women   Source: ELYSIAN Magazine

Around 300 years later, another shift in agricultural rhythms saw a new aesthetic come onto the scene in the US. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the arrival of the “Gibson Girl,” a character devised by illustrator Charles Dana Gibson, with long legs. Unlike previous images of women with large busts and hips, though, the Gibson Girl was not vulgar or lewd. 

The Gibson Girl represented a new kind of American woman that was wealthy and educated; she was emblematic of the new freedoms of the industrial age, despite hailing from a class that likely never took part in farmwork.

Gibson’s creations could be found in the pages of Life magazine, commonly engaging in high-energy pursuits like swimming or horseback riding. These hobbies trickled down through society to shape a new beauty standard. The new defining features were a slim, athletic build and windswept hair loosely pinned and very voluminous.

The Gibson Girl

Pictured: The Gibson Girl    Source: ELED

Beauty From Liberation

While beauty standards may be oppressive by their very nature, they’re sometimes shaped by the shirking societal norms. In her book, Molvar detailed the “certain amount of liberation” afforded to some White Western women during the 1920s, and the impact this had on beauty and style.

The desired silhouette moved from corseted curves, cinched in at the waist, to a more androgynous shape that “freed women’s bodies.” Makeup also evolved. Instead of only being used to smooth one’s complexion, it was now “intended to shock and stand out,” Molvar wrote.

Women during the 1920s

Pictured: 1920s women     Source: Library of Congress Blogs

1920s Makeup Looks

Pictured: 1920s makeup looks     Source: Hair and Makeup Artist Handbook

Molvar also noted the emergence of the “Black is Beautiful” movement from the 1950s to the 1970s. The phrase was, in part, popularized by the work of photographer Kwame Brathwaite, who shot portraits of dark-skinned models wearing Afrocentric fashions with their hair in afros or protective styles

“It was a way to come up in a beauty system that privileged European notions of beauty,” Tanisha C. Ford, co-author of the book Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautiful, said.

Brathwaite’s art encouraged Black communities to embrace their natural features, despite prevailing beauty standards being overwhelmingly White. “African American women and men expressed their political support for the cause through their physical appearance,” Molvar wrote, “choosing to leave their hair free … in lieu of straightening or styles that conformed to the standards of white society.”

The Black is Beautiful initiative aligned with the civil rights movement of the 1960s and illustrated how powerful and political cosmetic rituals could be.

Kwame Brathwaiten portrait

Pictured: Portrait by Kwame Brathwaite   Source: BBC

Beauty From Progression and Inclusion

Former CEO of cosmetics giant L’Oréal, Jean-Paul Agon, predicted a swing towards decadence reminiscent of the Roaring Twenties, which followed the 1918 global influenza outbreak; similar to the state of our world following the Covid-19 pandemic. “Putting on lipstick again will be a symbol of returning to life,” he told investors in February, according to the Financial Times.

In 2018 and 2019, the beauty industry experienced its highest level of growth. Over the past three years, celebrities such as Selena Gomez, Rihanna, Emma Chamberlain, Peyton List, and Pharrell have all launched either skincare or beauty lines.

Molvar believes that what we are now seeing is an absolute revolution. “Usually beauty trends and ideals take centuries to change. And the change comes so slowly,” she said. “But with the digitalization and the globalization of the world, we’ve been exposed to so many fresh ideas, thoughts, and points of view, the whole notion of what beauty is has just completely blown up.”

Expectations around taboos that have been honored for centuries, like wrinkles and aging, to perceptions of women’s body hair, are changing. “You can see it with the young folk,” Molvar said. “They’re questioning everything, like, ‘Why do we need to shave our legs? That’s an annoying habit. Why would we do that?’

For example, Billie, a start-up selling uniquely packaged razor kits, has raised $35 million in seed funding since 2017 after its depictions of women’s body hair went against the norm. In 2022, Calvin Klein also ran a campaign that featured Madonna’s daughter, Lourdes Leon, that normalized body hair.

Lourdes Leon for Calvin Klein

Pictured: Lourdes Leon for Calvin Klein   Source: Popsugar

Elsewhere in the beauty space, makeup has become a tool that belongs to both genders. Tom Ford and Chanel have both helped bring male makeup to the mainstream by launching men’s beauty lines in 2013 and 2018. Since then, other big names like Fendi and Dior have jumped on the bandwagon by showcasing men in makeup within their campaigns and on the runway. By 2024, the male grooming market is estimated to be worth $81.2 billion.

Boy de Chanel Campaign

Pictured: Boy de Chanel campaign    Source: Chanel

Dior Men's Campaign 2022Pictured: Men’s makeup look on the Dior runway in 2022    Source: Grazia Magazine

The beauty standards of today are becoming more fluid with individuals tapping into their true selves to show the unique, more freeing standards that they deem beautiful. Today, it’s not about what everyone else thinks is the perfect body type; it’s about the beautiful admiration one can hold for themselves. 

A Study on Changing Beauty Standards

The dominant standard of female beauty in Western media may have vacillated slightly over the decades, but for the majority of the 20th and 21st centuries, symmetrical, toned, white, and thin women have been advertised as the “ideal” by mainstream media. 

Increased visibility for diverse body types has ramped up significantly in recent years, showing that there isn’t just one kind of female body that’s beautiful. And for millennials raised on the internet, having a diversity of different types of bodies in the spotlight is wonderful for body positivity. 

But what influence could different images have on people who’ve never experienced mainstream media, or the beauty “ideals” it espouses? This new study aimed to answer that question, and what it found was that body standards changed much quicker than people might have previously believed.

The scientists behind the research wanted to find out how images of thin models might affect ideas about an “ideal” female body in people who’d never been exposed to those kinds of images before. They traveled to Nicaragua’s Mosquito Coast, a deeply isolated area where villages have no electricity, and therefore no exposure to television or film. 

Eighty volunteers, male and female, in those villages were recruited and asked to describe their ideal body shape. Half were shown 72 photographs of plus-size models, and the other half were shown 72 photographs of thin models.

Experiment Photos

Pictured: Sample photos used in the experiment   Source: Cold Springs Harbor Library

The entire process lasted about 15 minutes, at which point the scientists then asked the villagers to describe their ideal body image again. The people who had been looking at plus-size images made their idealized female bodies fit that standard, while those who’d been gazing at size zero women also changed their ideal to fit what they’d seen. 

Ideal body size graph

Pictured: Pre-test to post-test difference in ideal body size between groups   Souce: Cold Springs Harbor Library

The shocking element of the experiment was that it only took a small amount of exposure to this imagery for the subjects of this experiment to shift their ideals completely. However, the experiment didn’t measure how long the effects of the

The big lesson to take away from the Nicaraguan experiment is that images, of any kind, can warp our beauty standards within the time it takes to bake a cake. Knowing about why that is, through media literacy and other education, can stop it.

In Conclusion

The idea of beauty has its roots in every facet of humanity. What we consider beautiful can stem from magnificent tools that were used for hunting in ancient times or from farm life during the 17th century. The origins and evolution of beauty are truly fascinating and can teach us how the world around us shapes our thoughts and views.

As for the definition of beauty, perhaps the answer is within you. Perhaps you are beauty, personified.


What did you think of this article? Let us know in the comments below.

The Power of Prayer

Prayer is as fundamental to our inner lives, as breath is to our physical lives; it’s a yearning of the heart, an instinct to reach beyond, and the most fundamental, important language humans speak. The act of prayer is evidenced in written sources as early as 5,000 years ago, however, the ways we pray are just as diverse as we are as humans. In honor of Holy Week, which is April 10th through the 16th, we will explore prayer in different religions and its powerful ability to affect people in positive ways.

A Brief Look at Holy Week

Holy Week, in the Christian church, is celebrated during the week between Palm Sunday and Easter, observed with special solemnity as a time of devotion to the Passion of Jesus Christ. In the Greek and Roman liturgical books, it’s called the Great Week since great deeds were done by God during this week.     

By the later 4th century, Christians began separating various events  and commemorating them on the days of the week on which they occurred:

  • Palm Sunday: Celebrates Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem
  • Maundy Thursday: Commemorates the foot washing and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles
  • Good Friday: Commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary
  • Holy Saturday: Commemorates Jesus’ body resting in the tomb
  • Easter Sunday: Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and his victory over sin and death

Prayer Around The World

Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication. In the narrow sense, the term refers to an act of supplication or intercession directed towards a deity or a deified ancestor. 

Prayer can also have the purpose of thanksgiving or praise, and in comparative religion is closely associated with more abstract forms of meditation and with charms or spells. Prayer may take the form of a hymn, incantation, formal creedal statement, or a spontaneous utterance by the praying person.

Of the world’s more than 7.7 billion people, around 84% of adults and children practice a religion. With thousands of religions or segments of individual religions to choose from, how they choose to worship and practice varies widely, but one trait that many share is the decision to pray.

Here’s a look at prayer and worship by five of the world’s most prominent religions:

Christianity and Prayer

Christian children praying

Pictured: Christian children praying    Source: Compassion

Over 30% of the world’s population is Christian, making it the most practiced religion in the world. While there are many types of Christianity, most observe similar prayer practices, which is often worship on Saturday or Sunday of every week.

On these days, some Christians choose to attend worship and prayer together, while others may practice at home. More strict followers avoid work or spending money, while others might prioritize spending time with family, giving back to the needy, or enjoying the outdoors.

Most Christians believe prayer deepens a person’s faith and can help the believer come to a greater understanding of God’s purpose for their lives. The most widespread prayer among Christians is the Lord’s Prayer, which according to the Christian gospels is how Jesus taught his disciples to pray.1

The Lord’s Prayer is a model for prayers of adoration, confession, and petition in Christianity. As with the Lord’s Prayer, the most common way to end a Christian prayer is by saying “Amen” (from a Hebrew adverb usually translated as, “so be it.”)

Christians interpret the response they might get to their prayers in the following ways:

  • God answers prayers, but not always in the way the person wants. When a prayer is not answered, it may be that the person asked for something God thinks would not be good for them, or that their prayer will be answered later.
  • Sometimes Christians believe that God has answered their prayers in spectacular ways, such as with the recovery of a sick person. 
  • For some Christians, meditation or contemplation is a way of trying to reach a higher spiritual level.
  • Others, especially Orthodox Christians, use the Jesus Prayer, which says: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” They may chant this prayer over and over to clear their minds and achieve inner peace.

Some Christians, especially Roman Catholics, use a rosary to meditate on the life of Jesus. Candles, a crucifix, or a cross can also help Christians focus and allow the Holy Spirit to enter their hearts.2

You can read some common Christian prayers here.

Judaism and Prayer

Jewish man praying

Pictured: Jewish man praying    Source: Getty Images

Judaism is another common world religion in which prayer serves an important central purpose. Jews practice their day of prayer each week as Shabbat, which runs from Friday at sundown until Saturday at sundown. On Shabbat, Jews gather to read the Torah, pray together, and enjoy a special meal featuring braided bread, or challah, and grape juice or wine.3

Jews are supposed to pray once in the morning, afternoon, and evening to God, or Yahweh. Prayer is considered a service of the heart and is a Torah-based commandment; it’s not time-dependent and is mandatory for both Jewish men and women.

However, the rabbinic requirement to recite a specific prayer text does differentiate between men and women. Jewish men are obligated to recite three prayers each day within specific time ranges, known as zmanim, while, according to many approaches, women only have to pray once or twice a day, and may not be required to recite a specific text.4

Jews believe that the more you ask for God’s help, the more God loves you. But much of Jewish prayer consists of reciting written prayers aloud in synagogue, as an act of community participation, and as a symbol for putting yourself in the context of other Jews and the Jewish tradition as a whole.

For Jewish individuals, prayer both private and formal:

  • Allows Jews to make a deeper, personal connection with God
  • Allows Jews to ask God for help with personal situations
  • Provides a sense of community
  • Connects them to their history

You can read some common Jewish prayers here.

Buddhism and Prayer

Buddhist men meditating

Pictured: Buddhist monks meditating    Source: iStock Photo

Buddhist prayer is not only an expression of gratitude for precious human life, but it’s also a practice of inner transformation; the creation of a state or condition conducive to the development of compassion, knowledge, and wisdom.5

In Buddhism, prayer can take on many forms depending on sect or region. The most common method of prayer Buddhists practice is meditation. During meditation, a Buddhist may pray for the happiness and well being of all sentient beings or they may focus their attention on one individual.

Other forms of Buddhist prayer include bringing offerings of flowers or incense to temples and shrines, circumambulating holy sites, and chanting verses from ancient texts. Tibetan Buddhists make prayer offerings by creating detailed works of art, called mandalas, out of colored sand, and Zen Buddhists are known for their rock gardens of peace and tranquility.6

For Buddhists, prayer is primarily utilized for its internal purposes. It’s practiced to awaken the practitioner’s inner bodhichitta, or Buddha-nature. This concept can be defined as the fundamental compassionate vital energy; an energy that is as much present in the cosmos as it is within the individual. 

During prayer or meditation, Buddhists may:

  • Use prayer beads, called “malas,” to help them remain focused, they do this by being a tactile reminder of what you are meant to be doing – meditating. Buddhists do not always wear their beads, some actually prefer to use them only for meditation and prayer.7
  • Hang prayer flags, usually covered with auspicious symbols and mantras, in mountain winds that are not intended to carry petitions to gods but to spread blessings and good fortune to all beings.8
  • Spin prayer wheels that are usually covered in written mantras to help them focus on and dedicate the merit of the act to all beings. In this way, the wheel turning is also a kind of meditation.9

You can read some common Buddhist prayers here.

Hinduism and Prayer

Hindu woman praying

Pictured: Hindu woman praying    Source: Learn Religions

Much like Buddhism, for those who practice Hinduism, there is no set day of worship each week. Another way that this religion differs from others is that its prayers are far less formal and are often held in temples. Those looking to pray may come and go as they please, without needing to stay for a set service.

Hindu prayer and rituals are commonly performed three times a day. Some Hindus, but not all, worship a personal god or goddess, such as Shiva, Krishna, Lakshmi, or the Supreme Creator, Brahman, with the sacred thread being hung over the left shoulder and hanging to the right hip. This is cotton for the Brahmin (priest), hemp for the Kshatriya (ruler), and wool for the vaishya (merchants).10

In Hinduism, prayer is called Prārthana. Hindu prayers can be broadly classified as Mānasika (mental), Vācika (verbal), and Kāyika (physical). Even a single thought about the Divine can be considered Mānasika. Chanting mantras and requests constitute the Vācika. An offering of oblation to fire, prostrating in front of god, lighting and waving the lamps, offering food to god, and going on a pilgrimage are all Kāyika, or physical Prārthana.11

Hindu prayer can be in the form of a supplication, but traditionally includes the repletion of the names of the divine beings or the repetition of a mantra. It’s also physical and might include bowing or kneeling.

Leaving offerings at the altar is another form of worship, which can include fruit, tokens, flowers, and incense. Hindu altars often include images or other symbols as a way of accessing the gods and providing a focal point for one’s worship.12

The scriptures, known as the Vedas, indicate that there are seven techniques of successful prayer. Here are a few to take note of: 13

  • When you pray, just talk as a child would to a father or mother whom he loves and with whom he feels in harmony. Pray for everything that is on your mind and in your heart.
  • Try helping others with your prayers. Pray for those who are in trouble or are ill. Whether they are your loved ones or your friends or neighbors, your prayer can profoundly affect them.
  • Last but not the least, whatever you do, try not to make prayers into the form of begging. A prayer for thanksgiving is much more powerful. Make your prayer consisting of a listing of all the fine things you possess or all the wonderful things that have happened to you.

You can read some common Hindu prayers here.

Islam and Prayer

Muslim man praying

Pictured: Muslim man praying    Source: iStock Photo

Devout Muslims pray five times a day, every day. Muslims pray to Allah on a set schedule, and in many nations where the Muslim religion is prominent, bells may be used to remind individuals of the time to pray.

Muslims pray:

  • Salat al-fajr: dawn, before sunrise
  • Salat al-zuhr: midday, after the sun passes its highest
  • Salat al-’asr: the late part of the afternoon
  • Salat al-maghrib: just after sunset
  • Salat al-’isha: between sunset and midnight

Practicing this prayer ritual connects each Muslim to Allah, to all others around the world, and to all those who have uttered the same words and made the same movements at different times in Islamic history. The set prayers are not just phrases to be spoken; prayers for Muslims involve uniting the mind, soul, and body in worship.14

Muslims pray as though they are in the presence of Allah, and therefore must be in a state of concentration. While moving into the upright position, Muslims commonly recite “Allah listens to the one who praises Him’” and while in the standing position, “To Allah belongs all praise” is recited.

Muslims make sure that they are in the right frame of mind before they pray; they put aside all everyday cares and thoughts so that they can concentrate exclusively on Allah. If a Muslim prays without the right attitude of mind, it’s as if they hadn’t prayed at all.15

You can read some common Muslim prayers here.

The Benefits of Prayer

According to Dr. Wayne Jonas, surveys indicate that nearly 90% of patients with serious illnesses will engage in prayer for the alleviation of their suffering or disease. Among all forms of complementary medicine, prayer is the single most widely-practiced healing modality.

Additionally, research conducted by Dr. Christina Puchalski, Director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health, mentions that prayer is the second most common method of pain management (after oral pain medication), and the most common non-drug method of pain management.

The following explanations have been offered as to how prayer may help improve health:

  • The Relaxation Response: Prayer can elicit the relaxation response, which may lower blood pressure and other factors heightened by stress.
  • Secondary Control: Prayer releases control to something greater than oneself, which can reduce the stress of needing to be in charge.
  • The Placebo Response: Prayer can enhance a person’s hopes and expectations, and that, in turn, may positively impact health.
  • Healing Presence: Prayer can bring a sense of a spiritual or loving presence and alignment with God or an immersion into a universal unconsciousness.
  • Positive Feelings: Prayer can elicit feelings of gratitude, compassion, forgiveness, and hope, all of which are associated with healing and wellness.
  • Mind, Body, Spirit Connection: When prayer uplifts or calms, it can inhibit the release of cortisol and other hormones, thus reducing the negative impact of stress on the immune system and promoting healing.

In Conclusion

Prayer has a very personal meaning arising from an individual’s religious background or spiritual practice. For some, it can mean specific sacred words; for others, it may be a more informal talking or listening to God or a higher power. Prayer is universal and there’s no wrong way to do it.

The act of praying can help you find your path in life, cope with negative feelings, and if you believe in one, feel closer to your higher power. Whether it’s through meditation, speaking, dancing, drawing, or anything else, prayer can immensely impact your life for the better.

Do you have any personal rituals or preferred ways that you like to pray? Let us know in the comments below.

References:′,deliver%20us%20from%20evil.’%22 [1] [2] [3],and%20may%20not%20be%20required [4]

​​ [5] [6] [7],good%20fortune%20to%20all%20beings. [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]



The Rites Of Spring

Spring has long stood for birth or rebirth, bloom, and flourishing, which is why an array of ancient structures, such as the Stonehenge in The United Kingdom and the Pyramid of Kukulkán in Mexico were built. They were used as a place where ancient civilizations could celebrate spring’s lively beauty with shows of natural light touching and passing through the structures. Today, spring celebrations around the world are grand and usually branch from the traditions of these ancient civilizations. In this blog, we will explore the widely-celebrated holiday of Easter and some of the most unique spring traditions around the world.

Top: Spring equinox sunlight shines perfectly through two rocks at the Stonehenge;Bottom: Light from the spring equinox at the Pyramid of Kukulkán creates the shape of a snake slithering down its edges

Pictured: Top: Spring equinox sunlight shines perfectly through two rocks at the Stonehenge (Your Sun);  Bottom: Light from the spring equinox at the Pyramid of Kukulkán creates the shape of a snake slithering down its edges (The Culture Trip)

The Origins of Easter

During April, Christians around the globe celebrate Easter, the day on which the resurrection of Jesus is said to have taken place. The date of the celebration changes from year to year due to Easter always falling on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox. In 2022, Easter will be celebrated on April 17th.

The naming of the celebration as “Easter” seems to go back to the pre-Christian goddess in England, Eostre, who was celebrated at the beginning of spring by Pagan Anglo-Saxons in medieval Northumbria. The only reference to Eostre and these honorings comes from the writings of The Venerable Bede, a British monk who lived in the late seventh and early eighth century.

However, Emperor Constantine is responsible for how Easter is viewed today. Constantine believed that Easter shouldn’t be connected to other faiths, hence he ordained that the holiday should be celebrated on the Sunday after the first new moon of spring when Jesus was said to have been resurrected, which also helped to spread Christianity.

Easter Symbols and Traditions

Whether you’re celebrating Easter by attending a sunrise church service in the U.S., eating a traditional breakfast in Europe, or fasting from animal products in Africa, the occasion is honored by Christians all over the globe to remember Jesus Christ and his actions. 

Here are a few common Easter symbols and traditions:

The Cross

While the cross was initially looked upon as a symbol of suffering, Christians began to associate the cross with Christ’s victory over death. Constantine, during his rule, made the cross the official symbol for Christianity, which in turn made it an important symbol during Easter.

The Easter Bunny

The hare is an ancient Pagan symbol of fertility and symbolizes the moon, which plays a central role in Easter. The burrow of the rabbit signifies the tomb of Christ from which he rises. Traditionally, to honor the Easter Bunny, children used to make nests for rabbits in hats or paper baskets and put them out for rabbits to find. That tradition has evolved into one practiced today, where children search the entire house for a basket full of treats the Easter Bunny has hidden for them.

Easter Eggs

Eggs have always been revered as a symbol of life. Ancient cultures, like that of the Hindus, Persians, Egyptians, and Phoenicians, believed that our world originated from a large egg. During springtime, most ancient cultures celebrated spring by gifting and eating dyed eggs, which is still a common practice around the world. 

For Christians, the Easter egg symbolizes the tomb of Jesus from where he arose, in a new light and a new life. The egg is also deeply connected to Lent, considering many regions forbade the consumption of eggs during that time. Since Easter happens after Lent, eggs were most likely a coveted food due to the lack of consumption throughout Lent. 

Palm Branches

When Christ arrived in Jerusalem, also known as the first Palm Sunday, people welcomed him by waving palm branches. The remembrance of that significant event is carried forward to this day. In fact, images, candies, and other goodies are made to look like palm branches during Easter. It’s also common for some Christian denominations to hand out palm branches that have been blessed by the priest to the congregation, who will then make them into crosses.

Hot Cross Buns

For many, hot cross buns are a favorite item of the Easter feast. According to the origin story, an Anglican monk baked the buns and marked them with a cross in honor of Good Friday. Over time they gained popularity, and eventually became a symbol of Easter weekend.

Top: Hot cross buns; Bottom: Cross with palm leaves

Pictured: Top: Hot cross buns (Brown-Eyed Baker); Bottom: Cross with palm leaves (Dream’s Time)

Marzana in Poland

Despite the strong Catholic character of modern Poland, some Pagan traditions have endured; such as the spring equinox celebration known as the Drowning of Marzanna (Topienie Marzanny). Marzanna is the Polish incarnation of the old Slavic goddess of winter, plague, and death. 

In medieval times, the rite involved making a Marzanna effigy out of straw which was then wrapped in linen and beautified with ribbons and beads. On the afternoon of March 21st, the first day of spring, young children would dunk the doll in every trough and water barrel in the village. At dusk, the villagers would gather at the riverbank, setting the doll ablaze and tossing it into the water.

After the flames were extinguished, the doll would be removed from the water and paraded back through the village. Post-drowning Marzanna is usually carried by girls, who walk from house to house; celebrating with dancing, singing and, in some instances, collecting donations for the church or charity.

Today, many children in primary school still participate in the annual creation of a Marzanna doll by making figures out of old clothes and sticks that range in size. On March 21st, Marzanna is still taken to the nearest riverbank or bridge, set ablaze and thrown in the water as the children sing songs, such as: 

Już wiosenne słonko wzbija się po niebie (As the spring sun rises in the sky of blue)

W tej wezbranej rzece utopimy ciebie! (In this swollen river we are drowning you!)

Marzanna doll drowning and being set aflame

Pictured: Marzanna doll drowning and being set aflame (Lamus Dworski)

Baba Marta in Bulgaria

Bulgarians personify the month of March as an old female who brings small presents, referred to by the name of Baba Marta (Grandma March). Every toddler knows that Baba Marta is a charming old lady who chases away the cold and grumpy February. She invites the sun, the flowers, and the birds for a new season of bustling life. The colors of the month are red and white, symbolizing passion and purity.

During the weeks preceding March 1st, Bulgarians pack city streets with hundreds of stalls selling all kinds of Martenitsa, which are yarn threads in white and red that Bulgarians give as a gift to loved ones. A typical Martenitsa consists of two woolen dolls tied up together– Pizho and Penda. Pizho is all made of white wool, while Penda is all in red. 

A Martenitsa is usually tied around the wrist or pinned like a brooch; however, a child’s Martenitsa will commonly have toys attached to the thread. Sometimes individuals make a wish while the Martenitsa is being tied around their hand or to a tree in blossom. Bulgarians believe that the Martenitsa ritual will provide them with a year full of happiness and good fortune. 

According to the tradition, you cannot throw away your Martenitsa until you see a stork or a sparrow. These two bird species spend the winter in Africa and fly back to Bulgaria in mid-March. 

Top: Pizho and Penda dolls; Bottom: Martenitsa tied to a tree in blossom

Pictured: Top: Pizho and Penda dolls (20 Novinite);  Bottom: Martenitsa tied to a tree in blossom (The Culture Trip)

Holi in India

With the throwing of colored powder and water balloons, Holi has become known as India’s most vivid, joyous festival. It has been celebrated in India for more than a millenium, with poems documenting celebrations dating back to the 4th century CE. Holi marks the beginning of spring after a long winter, symbolic of the triumph of good over evil and is celebrated in March, corresponding to the Hindu calendar month of Phalguna.

There are varying accounts of Holi’s origin mentioned in several works of ancient Indian literature. According to one version, an evil king became so powerful that he forced his subjects to worship him as their god. But the king’s son, Prahlada, continued to be a devotee of the Hindu deity Lord Vishnu. The king then plotted with his sister, Holika, to kill his son. Holika, who was immune to fire, tricked Prahlada to sit in a pyre with her. When it was lit, the boy’s devotion to Lord Vishnu helped him walk away unscathed while Holika, from whom the festival derives its name, was burned to death despite her immunity.

Today, on the eve of the festival, large pyres are lit in many parts of India to signify the burning of evil spirits. People often throw wood, dried leaves, and twigs into the fires. On the day of Holi, entire streets and towns turn red, green, and yellow as people throw colored powder into the air. Each color carries a meaning; red, for example, symbolizes love and fertility, while green stands for new beginnings. 

It’s also common to splash each other during the celebration of Holi. Water guns are used to squirt water, while balloons filled with colorfully dyed water are also flung from rooftops. Later in the day, families gather together for festive meals and, sometimes, sweets are distributed among neighbors and friends. 

Top: Colored powder thrown during Holi; Bottom: Indian girl dancing covered in colored

Pictured: Top: Colored powder thrown during Holi (Tour My India); Bottom: Indian girl dancing covered in colored powder from Holi celebrations (And Beyond)

Whuppity Scoorie in Scotland

Whuppity Scoorie is a traditional festival dating back to the early 19th century and is observed by the people in Lanark, Scotland to celebrate the approach of spring. On March 7th, children gather around St. Nicholas Kirk to run clockwise around the church, making noise and swinging paper balls on strings above their heads. 

Today, the running during Whuppity Scoorie is no longer a race for safety reasons and to increase fairness for the younger participants. After three laps, the children scramble for coins thrown by members of the Community Council who host the event. The Community Council also hosts a “Whuppity Scoorie Storytelling Festival” and an art workshop for a few days after the event. 

While the origins of Whuppity Scoorie are unknown, there are theories that try to explain how the ancient custom evolved. The most common theory is that Whuppity Scoorie came from a festival that was intended to celebrate spring and frighten off winter or evil spirits. Others believe it marks the time when days got longer, which allowed curfews to be lifted so children could play outside for an extended period.

Another concept connects the event with an ancient religious penance in which the penitents were whipped three times around the church and afterwards “scoored” (or washed) in the nearby River Clyde.

Top: Scottish children waiting for the bell to ring at St. Nicholas Kirk; Bottom: Paper ball created for Whuppity Scoorie

Pictured: Top: Scottish children waiting for the bell to ring at St. Nicholas Kirk (Scotsman); Bottom: Paper ball created for Whuppity Scoorie (Calendar Customs)

Hanami in Japan

Hanami is the ancient tradition of enjoying the blooming cherry (sakura) and plum (ume) blossoms in parks and throughout the countryside of Japan. The ideal time to celebrate the Hanami festival, which coincides with the blooming forecast, is the end of March through the beginning of May. 

 During ancient times, the blooming cherry blossoms marked the beginning of the spring planting season. From this, the Japanese believed there was a relation between the flower and the rice paddy god, Tanokami. In fact, the cherry blossom is called sakura; “sa” referred to Tanokami, and the word “kura” meant “a seat for god,” so sakura could be understood as “a sacred place for the rice paddy god to dwell.”

Farmers would also pray, make offerings, and have a feast, believing that the cherry blossom trees would bring a full harvest. This changed into a festival for enjoying cherry blossoms in the Nara period (710-794 AD). During the Heian period (794-1192 AD), the cherry blossom flower became a national image to the Japanese, and in the Edo period (1603- 1868 AD), citizens started having banquets under the trees. 

Today, Hanami festivities include gathering under cherry blossom trees to celebrate spring with food and drinks. While Hanami can be celebrated at any time during the day, evening parties are referred to as Yoakuraz, translating to “night sakura.” They often include paper lanterns that are hung among the trees, which bring a new perspective and beauty to the cherry blossoms.

Top: Families celebrating under cherry blossom trees; Bottom: Lanterns hung on cherry blossom trees during Yoakuraz celebrations

Pictured: Top: Families celebrating under cherry blossom trees (Gaijin Pot); Bottom: Lanterns hung on cherry blossom trees during Yoakuraz celebrations (Media Afar)

In Conclusion

During spring, nature brings life back to Earth; dormant plants begin to grow, new seedlings sprout out of the ground, and hibernating animals awake. Nature becomes vibrant and alive once again.

Spring traditions, rituals, and symbols have evolved over time, each celebrating the revival of spring through unique festivities. While many have stemmed from ancient tradition, the newer celebrations are just as meaningful and transcendent. 

How will you celebrate spring? Does your family have any unique traditions?



Celebrating Women

The month of March is Women’s History Month and is dedicated to remembering the glass-ceiling shattering suffragists, visionaries, and trailblazing women who have fought for equality on behalf of women today and women of the future. There is an abundance of strong women who have led inspirational lives that have greatly contributed to society and impacted others; the list is never-ending. In celebration of Women’s History Month, we will pay homage to everyday women from all walks of life that embody the spirit of the celebration, along with sharing ideas on how you can honor Women’s History Month.

The Brief History of Women’s History Month

Women's History Month

Source: Florida State University Libraries

Women’s History Month began as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California. The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women planned and executed a “Women’s History Week” celebration in 1978, which was selected to correspond with International Women’s Day on March 8th. The movement spread across the country as other communities initiated their own Women’s History Week celebrations the following year.

In 1980, a consortium of women’s groups and historians—led by the National Women’s History Project (now the National Women’s History Alliance)—successfully lobbied for national recognition. In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th 1980 as National Women’s History Week.

From then on, Presidents continued to proclaim a National Women’s History Week in March until 1987 when Congress passed Public Law 100-9, designating March as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, each president has issued annual proclamations designating the month of March as Women’s History Month.

The 2022 Women’s History Month theme is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” which captures the spirit of these challenging times. This theme is “both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.”1

Everyday Women To Celebrate

During Women’s History Month, women are celebrated globally. Celebrities and well-known public figures, such as Oprah Winfrey, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Rosie the Riveter, are brought to the spotlight to be honored with exhibits and observances. However, while they are vitally important to our world and society, everyday women are also contributing and inspiring others as they live “normal” lives extraordinarily.

Here are a few everyday women to celebrate this March for Women’s History Month:

Rebecca Talaia

Rebecca Talaia

Source: Today

In 2020, Rebecca Talaia, a sixth grade teacher in Indialantic, Florida, heard that her local hospital was in dire need of disinfectant wipes due to a shortage from the pandemic. This reverted her mind to the wipes currently sitting unused in her empty classroom, leading Rebecca to convene with her fellow teachers and administration to help collect the school’s supply for the hospital. 

Soon after, Rebecca started From Our Classrooms to Our Nurses: American Schools Care, a website where schools can enter products they have to donate and hospitals can list their needs.The program matches schools and hospitals within a certain distance of each other and, if the amounts are appropriate, they get matched. At present, Rebecca is still working to donate supplies and is manually matching requests that come through the website herself.

Shola Matovu

Shola Matovu

Source: Women Lift Women

When Schola Matovu, PhD, RN, MSN was a young girl, she gathered herbs so her grandmother, an informal nurse/midwife in a small Ugandan village, could provide remedies for different ailments, such as malaria. She was inspired by her grandmother’s love of botany and creating remedies, eventually becoming a nurse. 

Shola is dedicated to decreasing health inequities through her research, which promotes health and overall well-being of older family caregivers, particularly in Uganda where 660,000 children were orphaned as a result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. To help, Shola is working to create a community-based pilot project in Uganda that will enable caregivers to generate income by raising farm animals. 

Additionally, Shola co-founded the Nurse-to-Nurse Global Initiative (NTNGI) in 2013. NTNGI, which helps nurses navigate occupational barriers and advocate for themselves and their patients, plans to launch a leadership and professional development training program in Uganda next spring.

Thenmozhi Soundararajan

Thenmozhi Soundararajan

Source: The Guardian

Thenmozhi Soundararajan is a transmedia artist, which means they create and translate stories across platforms. Their journey as an artist and activist, though, started when they realized someone needed to fight for the Dalit women who often gather in districts near near the statue of BR Ambedkar, a legendary Indian politician and former Dalit leader, to bring awareness to the crimes committed against them.

For Thenmozhi, everything about the #Dalitwomenfight movement – from social media posts to professional photography to security training for its participants – is an art form. They use different mediums to highlight the voices of marginalised communities, such as Dalit, and organise different communities to come together to fight caste apartheid, gender-based violence, Islamophobia, white supremacy, and religious intolerance. 

This also led them to create Equality Labs, which is an art and tech start-up that aims to uplift South Asian religious, cultural, and genderqueer communities in the United States.

Rachel Miller

Rachel Miller

Source: Pride Source

Rachel Miller began ballet when she was seven-years-old; however, as the years passed, she began to question why she wasn’t allowed to do the jumps or leaps like the men dancers. Rachel also showed distaste towards the stereotypical female roles in ballet: the damsel. This led her to practice different types of dance, such as hip-hop and African styles. While performing all over the world, Rachel came to terms with her sexuality and herself, which is why the Midwest RAD Fest caught her attention.

Rachel had previously danced at the Midwest RAD Fest, which is a celebration that features the best in modern, post-modern, and contemporary dance from all over the country. She took the role as the curator and began to change the way the fest worked by adding a panel of LGBTQ+ individuals, along with people of color, to help choose what works are put into the festival.

Thanks to Rachel, the Midwest RAD Fest has become a place where anyone and everyone can showcase their talents. Rachel dismantled the idea that only men choreographers and dancers can snag a timeslot for the fest. Instead, the Midwest RAD Fest is now a dedicated LGBTQ-focused platform.

Erin Hughes

Erin Hughes

Source: Solidarity Engineering

Erin Hughes co-founded the women-led organization Solidarity Engineering to support those living at a migrant camp in Metamoros. Before becoming the lead engineer of Solidarity Engineering, she studied environmental engineering at Drexel University and worked in the field for ten years.

In 2019, upon hearing of the illnesses and challenges people were faced with due to contaminated water at the migrant camp, Erin decided to make better use of her knowledge of water treatment and stormwater management by helping the camp inhabitants. She has helped dig drainage channels, construct showers, and much more. Her efforts have greatly contributed to the health of the camp and the people who reside in it.

Pippa Mills

Pippa Mills

Source: Essex Live

It’s no secret that being a police officer has always been looked at as a “man’s job,” but Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills is changing that sexist stereotype for good. Pippa has worked her way up the ranks to become the first-ever female Deputy Chief Constable in Essex Police’s history, second only to the Chief Constable himself. Becoming the first female officer in her role is something she is exceptionally proud of. Plus, she did it while raising two boys. 

Some of her career highlights include working on big public order events such as Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s wedding in 2011. Another central highlight was when she was flagged down by someone who had broken down and was transporting a kidney to Great Ormond Street Hospital with only 40 minutes to spare. She blue-lighted him there to make sure it arrived on time.

Amy Hanifan

Amy Hanifan

Source: Women in Fire

Amy Hanifan is the Operations Chief with McMinnville Fire Department in McMinnville, Oregon. She has been in the fire service since early 2001, starting as a volunteer and eventually beginning a career as a Firefighter Paramedic. Earning varied roles of leadership, she’s continuously been passionate about mentoring others in different stages of their careers. 

Throughout the years. she’s been involved with large projects such as Toy and Joy and Fill the Boot. She’s also the president of Women in Fire, which is an organization representing and advocating for women in the industry. Recently, Amy has turned her attention to promoting policies that would secure light duty gear for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers that work in the firefighting field. This will inevitably change the game for women firefighters who constantly feel the negative effects of the heavy and cumbersome gear.

How You Can Celebrate Women’s History Month

Whether you’re an activist, a petition-signing advocate for equality, or just venturing into the celebration of Women’s History Month for the first time, here are some ideas for how to honor the progression the women’s rights movement has made and how to support Women’s History Month:

Listen To Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to hear conversations about an array of topics you might not ordinarily come into contact with; they provide an informal and non-journalistic commentary of the world around us.

Women make up about half of podcast listeners, but at the end of 2020, it was reported that only 21% of top-charting podcasts have a female host. This is why supporting women offering their voice to the public is vitally important; it empowers more women to see their viewpoints as a potential contribution to the broader conversations we encounter each day. 

Here are a few female-hosted podcasts to listen to:

  • How Was Your Week hosted by Julie Klausner is a comedy and interview audio podcast that includes conversations with entertainers, writers, comedians, and performers.
  • Pop Culture Happy Hour by Linda Holmes serves you recommendations and commentary on the buzziest movies, TV, music, books, video games, and more.
  • Only Human hosted by Mary Harris tells stories about our bodies and our lives. 
  • What Would A Feminist Do? hosted by Jessica Valenti brings you interviews, advice, and real life stories from the front lines of feminism.
  • This Girl Means Business hosted by Carrie Green is a weekly business podcast to inspire female entrepreneurs from around the world.

Read Books By Female Authors

Books are an important influencer for how we think about our society and culture, and they offer readers different viewpoints and perspectives. Not to mention the fact that they’re also an amazing escape from everyday life.

While over 80% of the most popular novels were written by men, this disparity is drastically changing. In the last 30 years, female authors went from accounting for 25% of books on the Bestseller List to about 48%.2  This month, celebrate literary works by women who encourage you to step out of your comfort zone or guide you as you dive deeper into your interests.

Here are a few women writers who have shaped the literary world:

  • Adrienne Rich is most known for her poem “Diving Into The Wreck,” which uses an extended metaphor that compares the dive to the struggle for equal rights for women.
  • Edwidge Danticat is a Haitian American author whose works focus on the lives of women and their relationships.
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is best known for her novels, short stories, and plays that center around politics, culture, race, and gender.
  • Isabel Wilkerson is the first woman of African-American heritage to win the Pulitzer Prize in journalism and is the author of The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.
  • Margaret Atwood is best known for her prose fiction and for her feminist perspective, such as in the novel, The Handmaid’s Tale.

Support A Women’s Nonprofit Organization

Global nonprofit organizations play a key role in promoting female empowerment in areas such as education, health care, and employment. They recognize that when you empower women, you empower entire communities and countries.

There are so many ways to get involved in nonprofits that support women. While volunteering your time is an obvious way to get involved, simply participating in the conversation, sharing the organization’s mission, offering your connections, and signing petitions are wonderful ways to make an immediate impact.

Here a few nonprofits that support women to check out:

Support Female Entrepreneurs

Women make up close to half of the U.S. labor market and, in 2019, over 35% of all women in the U.S. had completed a four-year degree or more. However, a study from 2016 concluded that women are about half as likely as their male counterparts to start a new business. 

In the last two decades, though, the number of female-owned companies has increased by 114%. Women-owned businesses generate $1.9 trillion in revenue and employ 9.4 million people, which makes them an essential and growing part of our economy.

Here a few female-owned businesses to support:

  • She Speaks Numbers founded by Liz Barhydt help rising leaders develop the confidence, effective communication & storytelling skills that take them from a number cruncher to a valued strategic partner.
  • Nook+Cove founded by Silpa Yadla is an innovative platform that’s a shop and a registry with designer curated furniture and décor for the home.
  • Briogeo Hair Care founded by Nancy Twine is a line of carefully crafted, clean hair care products that offer effective solutions for every hair type, hair texture, hair need, and person.
  • The Honey Pot Company founded by Bea Dixon is a plant-based feminine hygiene line created with a goal to provide women with a healthy alternative to feminine care that is free of chemicals, parabens, carcinogens and sulfates.
  • Mented Cosmetics founded by Amanda Johnson and KJ Miller is a brand dedicated to producing makeup products that are perfectly pigmented to match all skin tones.

Humanist Beauty Is Female-Owned

About Humanist Beauty: Humanist Beauty, a Certified B Corporation, Social Enterprise Alliance member, and Leaping Bunny Approved business, is a beauty brand dedicated to the life-long practice of self-love. The brand is the first launched by The Human Beauty Movement (The HBM), a purpose-driven company on a mission to support inclusion, wellness, and sustainability in the beauty industry and beyond.

Humanist Beauty believes it has a responsibility to be a better beauty brand and stand for radical inclusivity. Additionally, Humanist Beauty believes in giving before receiving. The brand has donated funds to Gates Philanthropy Partners and to support projects that help those affected by the COVID pandemic. Donations have also been made to the mighty Black Lives Matter and Hate is a Virus social causes. And notably, the brand commits to donating 3% of gross revenues – not net revenues or net profits – to well-vetted 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that improve the well-being of underserved humans and enhance environmental health.

The Human Beauty Movement, including all Humanist Beauty operations, is a carbon-neutral organization with offsets made through reforestry projects. All formulas are made from scratch, and corners are never cut when it comes to the quality and wholesomeness of the ingredients used. 

Every single ingredient used in every single product is carefully scrutinized for benefit, safety, and ethical sourcing. In terms of packaging, Humanist Beauty strives to use the most environmentally conscientious options it can and even offers a consumer recycling service of old products through a Zero Waste Program.

To learn more about Humanist Beauty and shop its products, check out this page.

About Jennifer Norman: Jennifer Norman is a beauty and wellness industry executive-turned-entrepreneur. After receiving her MBA from Georgetown University, she went on to pursue an amazing career working for some of the best companies in the industry. With major experience across all beauty categories, she’s considered one of the most strategic and creative minds in the business.

Through Humanist Beauty and The Human Beauty Movement, Jennifer has set out to pioneer positive beauty culture with a multi-faceted creative approach. Humanist Beauty and The Human Beauty Movement harness her love for humanity with her passions for art and cultural exploration. She believes deep down that everyone is beautiful, everyone deserves to feel beautiful, and everyone is empowered to live the beautiful life of their dreams.

Jennifer Norman

Pictured: Jennifer Norman For Humanist Beauty

How will you be celebrating Women’s History Month? Do you have a woman that inspires you daily in your life? Let us know in the comments.



Resources: [1] [2]

The World Needs More Inclusive Beauty

The beauty industry has long been criticized for not reflecting real consumers and not catering to those with special needs. Thankfully, things are starting to change. The industry is evolving to show more diversity and acceptance, and products are being launched to meet the needs of consumers who had previously been overlooked. But so much more needs to be done.

The Call For Diverse Representation

The model images we see in advertisements and in the media greatly influence our views on who and what are deemed ‘beautiful’. The more we are exposed to media, the more likely we are to compare ourselves to the images we see. And when the images don’t look like us, over time, we get the message that we aren’t seen and aren’t attractive. One study concluded that only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media.1 That leaves 95% of women subject to feeling as though they don’t measure up.

On the other hand, most Americans (63%) say they are inspired by beauty brands that show diversity in advertising. They say they want to see diversity in ads to better reflect real life and show that there are different ways to be beautiful.2 Additionally, 21% of adults who actively use beauty products have sought out beauty brands that promote diversity, while 20% mention a willingness to pay more for a product from an inclusive brand.3

Here are a few brands that have been recognized recently for demonstrating inclusive representation:

Fenty Beauty

In 2017, makeup brand Fenty Beauty was introduced by Sephora’s Kendo Brands and pop star Rihanna. Many praised the launch for its extensive foundation range of 40 shades (now expanded to 50) and its multiracial marketing campaign. Today, many brands have followed suit and expanded their makeup lines to include a wider variety of shades. Additionally, Rihanna herself as a spokesperson exudes self confidence in her curviness, helping to promote body positivity and quash body shaming.

Fenty Beauty Foundation Range

Pictured: Fenty Beauty’s Foundation Range
Source: Fenty Beauty

 Fenty Beauty Foundation Models

Pictured: Rihanna for Fenty Beauty 
Source: People Magazine


In 2020, Gucci Beauty launched a campaign titled “Unconventional Beauty” which celebrated “non-stereotypical beauty”. Ellie Goldstein, an 18-year-old British model, now holds the honor for being the first down syndrome model to be featured in a Gucci advertisement. Additionally, most of the creative team that worked on Ellie’s photoshoot for Mascara L’Obscur were also disabled.

Ellie Goldstein for Gucci Beauty

Pictured: Ellie Goldstein for Gucci Beauty 
Source: Vogue

MAC Cosmetics

First introduced in 1994, The MAC AIDS Fund, now called the MAC Viva Glam Fund, has raised more than $500 million by donating 100% of the proceeds of its Viva Glam lipstick to support the fight against HIV /AIDS as well as healthy futures and equal rights for women, girls, and the LGBTQ+ community.4 MAC underwrites the production costs of the VIVA Glam line and demands that department stores take no cut.

As a brand, MAC has long been an advocate of diversity and inclusivity. The original brand founder, Frank Toskan, said that he wanted his company to cater to minority groups others generally ignored, and he wanted to hire the so-called “weirdos” and misfits of the world to work behind their counters. When the brand first started selling in high-end department stores, the retailers tried to tell the MAC makeup artists how they should dress, act and speak. “At that time, you couldn’t wear black, you couldn’t have tattoos, you certainly couldn’t be a crossdresser or even effeminate,” Toskan said. “We wanted people to be who they are. We demanded to be left alone.” 5

RuPaul was the very first spokesperson hired for MAC and Viva Glam. After that, diverse personalities like Elton John, Lil Kim, Missy Elliott, Ricky Martin, Cyndi Lauper, Boy George and Nicki Minaj represented the line. For Viva Glam’s 25th anniversary in 2019, MAC tapped Winnie Harlow, the model famous for her vitiligo skin condition, to recreate the original RuPaul campaign.

RuPaul for MAC Viva Glam

Pictured: RuPaul for MAC Viva Glam  
Source: Pinterest

Winnie Harlow for MAC Viva Glam

Pictured: Winnie Harlow for MAC Viva Glam 
Source: PopSugar

About Disability and Accessibility

According to the CDC, in the United States alone, 61 million adults, that’s 26%, live with some form of disability.6

  • 13.7 percent of people with a disability have a mobility disability with serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs.
  • 10.8 percent of people with a disability have a cognition disability with serious difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions.
  • 6.8 percent of people with a disability have an independent living disability with difficulty doing errands alone.
  • 5.9 percent of people with a disability are deaf or have serious difficulty hearing
  • 4.6 percent of people with a disability have a vision disability with blindness or serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses.
  • 3.6 percent of people with a disability have a self-care disability with difficulty dressing or bathing.

Despite the preponderance of people with disabilities, they are not often considered when beauty brands are designing new products or packaging. The frustration felt among those with visual impairment, reduced mobility, body tremors, and limb loss can be overwhelming when trying to shop, select, open and use any given personal care or beauty item. It’s no wonder that 57% of people agree that there need to be more beauty products for individuals with mobility challenges, such as packaging that can aid in painting nails or applying makeup.7

Fortunately, more brands today believe that having a disability shouldn’t stop anyone from being able to use and enjoy beauty products, and some are finally beginning to introduce ‘universal design into their products to enhance accessibility for all.8 Here are three brands we’re happy to spotlight that offer products with accessible packaging:

Guide Beauty

Guide Beauty was founded by Terri Bryant, a professional makeup artist who in 2010 started noticing unusual stiffness spanning from her left shoulder down to her fingers. In 2012, she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, and she thought her career would be over. Her love of makeup and determination caused her to seek out solutions to facilitate cosmetics application, not only for those with unsteady hands, but for all people who want to master the perfect cat eye, brow shape or mascara strokes. The products she launched are made to be hand-steadying, easy to grip, easy to open, and easy to use.

The products she launched

Guide Beauty Products
Source: NY Times

Kohl Kreatives

Kohl Kreatives is an inclusive brand that specializes in stylish makeup tools for people with impaired motor skills. It’s famous for its flexible makeup-up brushes that bend to make applying makeup easier and more comfortable. Kohl Kreatives’ vegan brushes have an easy-to-grip base in various shapes that allow you to get into those hard-to-reach areas. Additionally, a percentage of Kohl Kreatives’ proceeds are donated to Kohl Kares, which focuses on empowering people through makeup.

Kohl Kreatives The Flex Collection

Pictured: Kohl Kreatives The Flex Collection
Source: Kohl Kreatives


Cleanlogic rebranded this year, complete with an updated look and a shift to all-paper packaging. By eliminating its traditional soft plastic packing, Cleanlogic was able to print braille on every product. The brand also partnered with the American Foundation for the Blind to ensure accuracy. Cleanlogic has been advocating for more awareness of visual impairment in the industry by supporting nonprofit organizations and hosting pre-pandemic blindfolded dinners with retail executives. Additionally, the brand believes that it’s important for everyone to acknowledge that the CDC projects that visual impairment cases will double over the next 3 decades.9

Cleanlogic Sport Line with Braille Packaging 

Pictured: Cleanlogic Sport Line with Braille Packaging
Source: Cleanlogic

The #PullUpForChange Campaign

Uoma Beauty founder Sharon Chuter launched the #pullupforchange campaign on June 3rd, 2020, which called upon brands to release a statement of support for Black Lives Matter by making public the percentage of diverse employees within their ranks. The campaign asked consumers to refrain from buying products from brands until they respond.

Along with the call to action, Sharon also shared a video that relayed important statistics. She mentioned that, according to the Center for Talent Innovation, only 8% of corporate professionals and 3.2% of executives and senior-level managers are Black, as well as only 4 Fortune 500 CEOs.10

In response to the #pullupforchange hashtag, companies came forward with their statistics, even those that did not meet diversity/inclusivity muster within their business employment records. The significance of the hashtag, though, was that it enabled brands to transparently own up to their diversity shortcomings. Many acknowledged that they still needed to do a lot of work to be more representative, diverse, and inclusive. And notably, it helped spawn action plans for companies to develop anti-racist training, hiring, and leadership policies.

Brands that shared statistics in response to the #pullupforchange hashtag include:

  • Kylie Cosmetics: 13% Black, 47% BIPOC (Black and Indigenous people of color), 53% White, 100% Women Identifying
  • Ulta Beauty: 18% Black Board Members, 13% Black Leadership Team Employees, 6% Black Associated
  • MAC Cosmetics: 18% Black Representation Across the Organization, 17% in the Executive Team, 4.5% at Director Level or Above
  • Becca Cosmetics: 12% Black Employees, 14% Black Executive Officers, 3% at Executive Level or Above
  • Mented Cosmetics: 100% Black Employees, 75% Black Board Members
  • Sephora: 14% Black Representation
  • Urban Skin Rx: 64% Black Employees

Over 70 brands released statements for the #pullupforchange campaign. You can view all the brands that answered Sharon’s call to action here.

What The Human Beauty Movement Is Doing To Support Inclusivity

Even though The Human Beauty Movement, parent company of Humanist Beauty, is founded by an Asian American woman, and even though the company’s founding principles are based upon honoring all humans regardless of color, gender, age, creed, status, or ability, we know that statements are not enough. Currently, the leadership team is undergoing an intensive six-week anti-racist training program led by Hella Social Impact to develop a crystal-clear action plan to ensure the company has policies in place that are founded on justice, equality, diversity, and inclusivity.

The Human Beauty Movement and Humanist Beauty will always stand for radical inclusivity, yet we know we must deliver against our words. In order to inspire all humans to be the best versions of themselves, we must ensure that all stakeholders – from our vendors, to our leadership teams, to our employees, to our partners, to our customers – feel valued, seen, and heard.

We invite you to join us on the journey and hold us accountable. We will always strive to do better and to be better when it comes to contributing to a kinder, more inclusive future for all.



References: [1] [2][3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]  [9] [10]


Let’s Get Familiar With The CROWN Act

Black hairstyles have always been highly policed in America, whether it’s in classrooms or the workplace. For black people, though, hair isn’t “just hair;” it’s a piece of their ancestral history, and the unfortunate truth is that the locs, braids, and coils they proudly wear are usually deemed “unprofessional” or “unkempt.” To eliminate hair discrimination, many cities and states have begun passing The CROWN Act (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair) to address and bring awareness to the issue.

What is The CROWN Act?

In June 2019, California made headlines for becoming the first state to outlaw the discrimination of individuals based on their hair by unanimously passing the SB 188 bill. The law, also known as the CROWN Act, “prohibits race-based hair discrimination, which is the denial of employment and educational opportunities because of hair texture or protective hairstyles including braids, locs, twists, or Bantu knots.”1 It was signed into law in California on July 3rd, 2019, and expanded the definition of race in the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and state Education Code.

The CROWN Act was created in 2019 by Dove and the CROWN Coalition, in partnership with then State Senator Holly J. Mitchell of California, to ensure protection against discrimination based on race-based hairstyles by extending statutory protection to hair texture and protective styles in the workplace and public schools.2 Since its introduction, the CROWN Act has galvanized support from federal and state legislatures in the movement to end hair discrimination worldwide.

The CROWN Coalition

The CROWN Coalition is an alliance of organizations that are dedicated to the advancement of anti-discrimination legislation across the United States.3 The diverse array of organizations that make up the CROWN Coalition has aided in the monumental success of elevating the public narrative around this issue while inspiring a movement to bring awareness to end hair bias and discrimination.

According to its website, the CROWN Coalition’s purpose is to “create a world where Black lives are valued, respected, and free of oppressive systems.”4The CROWN Coalition is on a mission to dismantle structures of systematic racism that perpetuates social and economic disparities for Black people.5

The CROWN Coalition has over 60 members and supporters. While the list is continuously growing, here are a few organizations that make up the CROWN Coalition:

  • Dove
  • National Urban League
  • Color of Change
  • Curly Girl
  • The Women’s Foundation of California
  • Professional Beauty Association (PBA)
  • The National Hair Industry Convention
  • Berkeley City Council
  • And more.

The Dove Research Study for the CROWN Act

The CROWN research study was conducted in 2019 to identify the magnitude of racial discrimination that women experience within the workplace based on their natural hair. A survey of 1,017 Black women and 1,050 non-Black women with ages ranging from 25 to 64 was conducted, but to qualify for the study, the women must have been working full-time in an office or sales position in the past 6 months. According to Dove’s website, 92% of the non-Black sample of women were white.6

pie charts showing more black women work in a field setting than an office setting

Pictured: More Black women work in a field environment (sales) compared to non-Black women

Source: Dove

Throughout the study, Black women were made more aware of the corporate grooming policy than non-Black women. Hair/appearance policies were given to Black women at a significantly higher rate (22%) than non-Black women (17%). Researchers also found that 35% of Black women compared to 23% of non-Black women received company grooming standards. In addition, 32% of non-Black women mentioned they never actually received the corporate grooming policy compared to 18% of Black women.

bar chart showing when black women vs non-black women received policy on appropriate hairstyles

Source: Dove

Dove took the study a step further by testing out job readiness associated with Black women’s hairstyles. They were consistently ranked lower or “less ready” by those who took the survey.

a pictoral representation of blackk hairstyles and sentiments of professionalism

Source: Dove

Where Does Your State Stand With The CROWN Act?

The status of The CROWN Act is constantly changing throughout the 50 states. Since California’s 2019 ruling, though, many more states have followed suit and passed The CROWN Act. Keeping up with the progression of The CROWN Act in each state is a great way to stay up-to-date on this pressing issue and show your support.

The States Where The CROWN Act is Law

  • California (July 3, 2019)
  • New York (July 12, 2019)
  • New Jersey (December 19, 2019)
  • Virginia (March 3, 2020)
  • Colorado (March 6, 2020)
  • Washington (March 19, 2020)
  • Maryland (May 8, 2020)
  • Connecticut (March 4, 2021)
  • New Mexico (April 5, 2021)
  • Delaware (April 13, 2021)
  • Nebraska (May 5, 2021)

The States Where The CROWN Act Has Been Filed or Pre-Filed

  • Utah
  • Arizona (The CROWN Act is law in Tucson)
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Texas
  • Kansas
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Missouri (The CROWN Act is law in Kansas City and St. Louis)
  • Kentucky (The CROWN Act is law in Clayton County, Stockbridge, and East Point)
  • South Carolina
  • Florida (The CROWN Act is law in Broward County)
  • Vermont
  • New Hampshire
  • Massachusetts

States Where The CROWN Act Has Been Filed or Passed

  • Wisconsin (The CROWN Act is law in Dane County)
  • Michigan (The CROWN Act is law in Ann Arbor, Ingham County, and Genesee County)
  • Illinois
  • Pennsylvania (The CROWN Act is law in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh)
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina (The CROWN Act is law in Orange County, Durham, and Greensboro)
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
  • Hawaii
  • Alaska
  • Ohio (The CROWN Act is law in Akron, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Newburgh)

States Where The CROWN Act Has Been Filed But Did Not Pass

  • Minnesota
  • Iowa
  • Texas
  • South Dakota
  • Arizona
  • Utah
  • Kansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Missouri
  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana (The CROWN Act is law in New Orleans and Shreveport)
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
  • Mississippi
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • South Carolina
  • West Virginia (The Crown Act is law in Beckley, Charleston, Lewisburg, and Morgantown)
  • Vermont
  • Maine

How You Can Support The CROWN Act

It’s time to raise our voices and bring awareness to the unfair discrimination many women of different nationalities face due to their hairstyles. Here are a few ways you can show your support for The CROWN Act:

1.    Introduce The Crown Act to Your State

Did you know that you can introduce The CROWN Act to your state’s legislatures? By visiting The CROWN Act’s website, you can view sample bills, such as California’s, to help you get started on your legislative language. Plus, you can contact Adjoa B. Asamoah, a member of The CROWN Act, to learn more about how she can support your efforts to file The CROWN Act in your state. Good luck!

2.    Join The CROWN Coalition

The CROWN Coalition consists of advocacy and non-governmental organizations that seek to end hair discrimination. If your organization is interested in joining the CROWN Coalition, you can visit their website for more information.

3. Sign a Petition

The CROWN Coalition created a petition to end hair discrimination in the workplace, schools, and pools. By signing the petition, you’ll help urge legislatures to vote yes on The CROWN Act. The CROWN Coalition’s goal is to reach 500,000 signatures, and as of a month ago, it’s been signed 300,000 times. The goal has almost been met! Sign the petition here.

Humanist Beauty Supports The CROWN Act

Humanist Beauty strives to always foster inclusion among all humans regardless of color, gender, creed, age, status, ability, sexual preference, or hairstyle. Our goal is to encourage self-love, wellness, and radical inclusivity for all. The CROWN Act is crucial to changing the way natural hair is perceived and judged in the workplace and everyday life. We fully lend our support to The CROWN Act to diminish discrimination based on something as beautiful and unique as hair.



References: [1][2][3] [4][5] [6]

The History of LGBTQ+ Pride and Allyship

Today, LGBTQ+ Pride celebrations take a variety of forms, such as parades, parties, proms, and protests. Since the beginning of the modern LGBTQ+ liberation movement, a multitude of Pride celebrations and events have sprung up around the world. However, each occasion is tied in some way to the Stonewall Riots that took place in New York City on June 28th, 1969.

Though the world is migrating towards increasing acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community, discrimination is still a stark reality. The Natural Library of Medicine (NIH) mentions that 57% of LGBTQ+ adults have endured slurs, 51% report experiencing sexual harassment, and 51% have faced violence due to their sexual orientation. Showing allyship with the LGBTQ+ community remains vital for a kinder, more inclusive future.

The History of Pride Month

While the event of the Stonewall Riots was not the first occurrence of LGBTQ+ resistance against police harassment, it is the most well-known. Before Stonewall, a riot took place in San Francisco at Compton’s Cafeteria and another took place in Los Angeles at Cooper Do-Nuts. Each event in LGBTQ+ history laid the groundwork for what the Stonewall Riots solidified: PRIDE as we know it today.

A Look at the Stonewall Riots

In 1967, the Stonewall Inn opened as a gay club in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village neighborhood. Though much of the nation had become more accepting of gays, New York was notorious for its strict enforcement of anti-homosexual laws that made it difficult for gay individuals to congregate in public.

The mafia controlled a multitude of bars and clubs in Manhattan during this time. To get around New York state regulations that prohibited gay people from being served alcohol, a young member of the Genovese family named Tony Lauria, or “Fat Tony,” ran the Stonewall Inn. While the Stonewall Inn was far from being the nicest gay bar in Greenwich Village, it was one of the only places the gay community could get together and dance.

During the 1960s, the gay rights movement was building momentum around the nation with the LGBTQ+ community clashing with police in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and many other cities.1 The Mattachine Society, an early national gay rights organization, helped put a stop to police entrapment, but police still raided bars and bathhouses.

On Tuesday, June 28th, the police raided the Stonewall Inn. Word of the riots swept the city with 500-600 people showing up the first night. But on Friday of that week, an estimated 2,000 individuals congregated outside the bar.2

Members of the crowd held hands in a display of public affection and chanted “We Want Freedom Now,” “Gay Power,” and “Christopher Street Belongs to the Queens.”3 To block off Christopher Street, they formed a human chain and turned over a car.

21 people were arrested during the riots and many were injured, but the spark for change had ignited. On June 28th, 1970, many people returned to the streets of Greenwich Village for the first Christopher Street Liberation Day march. The march became an annual event and ultimately evolved into the Pride Parade.

The Pride Parade Then and Now

Within the first years of the Pride Parade, the energy of the LGBTQ+ community was contained to the small area of Christopher Street. Today, millions of people attend the parade to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community.

It took activists months to organize the first Pride Parade. They maintained that there would be no regulation on age or what marchers wore. During this period, many LGBTQ+ activists held walks and vigils, but they were silent and kept mostly to themselves. The newly proposed Pride Parade would showcase different personalities and a vibrancy that LGBTQ+ individuals often kept hidden.

The activists in charge of the Pride Parade organized many events during the week of the celebration to take advantage of the interest in activism and newly formed organizations. The march’s official chant was elected to be, “Say it Clear, Say it Now. Gay is Good, Gay is Proud,” and those attending the parade would yell the chant for 51 blocks.

A black & white photo taken at the Christoper Street Gay Liberation Day Parade, 1970

Photo Source: NBC News

Today, the Pride Parade has transformed into Pride Month with events taking place around the world in June. In 2019, these countries held Pride festivities:

  • America
  • Brazil
  • Amsterdam
  • Austria
  • Taiwan
  • Czech Republic
  • Russia

To learn more about Pride Month’s 2021 events taking place near you, click here.

Discrimination Against The LGBTQ+ Community

Over the last decade, the United States has made strides towards LGBTQ+ equality. However, the community still faces widespread discrimination. Between 11% and 28% of LGBTQ+ people report losing a promotion due to their sexual orientation, and 27% of transgender employees say they’ve been fired, not hired, or denied a promotion. While LGBTQ+ individuals face a staggering amount of discrimination at the workplace, they also endure it in other aspects of their lives, such as losing their homes, access to education, and the ability to engage in public life.

Only 46% of lesbian, gay, and bi individuals and 47% of trans people feel comfortable disclosing  their sexual orientation to their families, and more than 1 in 10 LGBTQ+ members have faced domestic abuse from their partners. Additionally, 1 in 5 LGBT individuals has experienced a hate crime due to sexual orientation, while 2 in 5 trans people have also endured hate crimes.4

A survey administered by the Center for American Progress (CAP) found that 1 in 4 LGBTQ+ people faced discrimination in 2017.5 The study also mentioned that many LGBTQ+ individuals often make significant changes to their everyday lives to avoid discrimination.


A chart showing how the fear of discrimination shapes LGBT people's lives
Currently, 72 countries criminalize same-sex relationships, and for the punishment of these relationships, the death penalty is deemed acceptable, or evidence of its existence exists in 8 countries.6 Additionally, 25% of the world’s population believes that being LGBTQ+ should be a crime.7

These statistics reflect the hardships that many LGBTQ+ members face every day. While the world is moving towards greater tolerance, outright discrimination based on personal beliefs and religious dogma are major hurdles to true acceptance. By taking steps to gain awareness for the key issues affecting marginalized populations such as the LGBTQ+ community and committing to allyship, you can be part of the social movement to drive meaningful change.

What You Can Do To Show Allyship

What does being an ally to the LGBTQ+ community mean exactly? An ally seeks to understand the challenges that LGBTQ+ people experience daily, such as heterosexism, bi-prejudice, trans-prejudice, and heterosexual privilege. An ally feels strong concern for LGBTQ+ individuals and acts to bring true support, acceptance, and advocacy for equal rights and fair treatment.

Here are a few ways you can show allyship to the LGBTQ+ community:

  • Become informed. Ask questions, do research, and don’t be afraid to be honest about what you don’t know. Strive to stay up to date on LGBTQ+ news.
  • Support equality. Champion policies in your workplace or school that aid in protecting LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination. Some issues may seem small, but they can make a significant impact on people’s lives.
  • Use your voice. Share what you know about the LGBTQ+ community to spread understanding. Let others know that anti-LGBTQ+ jokes or statements are not okay. Speak up with the courtesy of allowing LGBTQ+ members to stand up for themselves first.
  • Network for greater impact. Consider joining pro-LGBTQ+ groups online. You’ll find like-minded people who can work together to ignite greater change.
  • Appreciate language nuances. Ask for preferred pronouns and terms when describing someone. Try not to assume someone’s gender or sexual orientation. Here’s a helpful vocabulary glossary you can refer to for guidance.
  • Listen to others. Engage with many different people within the LGBTQ+ to learn about their unique experiences. Ask questions, such as what it was like growing up, what the coming out process was like, pet peeves, and how you can best support them.
  • Say goodbye to historical messaging. Become familiar with LGBTQ+ history and challenge stereotypes. Unpack the areas of history that have the LGBTQ+ community wrong. Always ask yourself this question: “Does this reflect the people I know that are in the LGBTQ+ community today?”

Humanist Beauty Strives for Allyship

We recognize that the word ‘ally’ must be earned and never self-ascribed. As such, we are striving to do the work every day to foster inclusion among all humans regardless of color, gender, creed, age, status, ability, or sexual preference. To us, the LGBTQ+ community needs our care and support, particularly vulnerable youth who often struggle in isolation. As such, we will be donating funds to the notable Trevor Project, a highly reputable non-profit organization that provides trained counseling 24/7 for LGBTQ+ teens in crisis. You can learn more about the Trevor Project at [1] [2] [3] [5] [6][7]

The Nature of Diversity

I can’t imagine a world painted only one color, a year of eating only one food, a song written with only one note, or a language based on only one word. Our world comes alive when it is abundant with color, our palette sated with varying cuisines, our senses lifted with a symphony of sound, our understanding deepened with the gift of prose. Likewise, I can’t imagine a world where everyone wishes to be like everyone else, or where everyone wishes others to be exactly like them. Humanity would be exceedingly mundane if we were awash with the same skin, hair, clothes, language, thoughts, and beliefs.

Our planet is blessed with abundant diversity in the masterful complexity of the natural biosphere. Nature works intricately yet harmoniously to spring life, live life, take life, and cycle through life again and again. It has been this way for billions of years. Yet we as a human species, having only inhabited earth a mere fraction of its existence, have blazed a path that could very well lead to our own destruction, both ecologically and socially.

The Quest for More

Why has civilization evolved in such a way as to potentiate our own demise? Why do we think we are racing to the top when in fact we are digging ourselves to the bottom? Why do we preach unity but practice divisiveness? I have a theory. Somewhere along the line, as the story of Adam and Eve goes, humans wanted more. More food, more wealth, more knowledge, more than we already had. That wanting of more left us with less. But alas, the desire was ingrained in our nature. We lusted for more, so we took what was not ours. We craved more, so we over-plowed and over-harvested. We demanded more, so we over-produced.

In the wanting and the seeking of more, we perceived others also wanted more, and so they became our enemies when resources were thought to be scarce. We began loathing our enemies and sought to conquer them for more resources. Defeating our enemies gave us power. It inflated our egos, fueled perceptions of supremacy, and incentivized us to expand, dominate, and gain even more. We created religious beliefs to indoctrinate followers to our cause, intensifying the drive for power and expansion, vilifying those that were foreign or non-believing. And so, the fear of strangers, the threat of foreigners, and the persecution of alternate believers were traits that evolutionarily seeped into human DNA to become instinctual. Again, just my theory.

Welcome to America

Fast forward thousands of years, where a young nation is formed with values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This nation promises equality and justice for all who arrive at its shores seeking refuge from oppression. It is the land of hopes, dreams, and opportunity for anyone who seeks it. What divine values! But oh, how they conflict with human nature! It is no wonder it has taken hundreds of years and may take many more, to undo the inherent coding that is hardwired into our human genes. Notwithstanding, what an extraordinary opportunity we are faced with today! We have the challenge to rewrite our code, and we are making significant progress doing so.

Shifting the Code

Unfortunately, changing code often requires tremendous effort and sacrifice. It has taken landmark, pivotal moments in time to create momentous shifts to undo what has been entrenched within our cells. It has taken Civil War and World War II and Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. and, yes, George Floyd to edge an entire nation, individual by individual, towards inborn tolerance, acceptance, and inclusivity. I believe the cumulative sacrifices of those champions who have come before us and the heartbreak of present-day story awareness are working their gradual magic to effect meaningful change.

How can we continue to shift our code more peacefully, without war and strife? The only answer is LOVE. Love, compassion, empathy, and kindness – are the antidotes for intolerance and hate. That’s why it’s written to love thine enemies. That’s why former FLOTUS’ advice, “When they go low, we go high” is so crucial. We must retrain ourselves not to return hate with hate, but with love. We must live every moment of every day by the code that every human being is worthy, equal, and deserving of respect. Education, habituation, and action born out of love can catalyze this indelible human change we seek.

Working Towards Change

Shining a light on our similarities and commonalities helps build bridges. The Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have done unto you) is perhaps the most important life lesson we could practice. Disagreement will happen when any two people communicate, but continuing to hold the other party in high esteem must be ingrained until it becomes second nature.

Changing the opinion of a person set in his ways is not easy, but not impossible. Almost everyone can empathize. Not everyone realizes when he is the problem. That’s why two-way communication is so important. The feedback that a certain remark, gesture, or behavior comes across as insensitive or hurtful is valuable. Believing that people are truly trying their best paves the way for forgiveness and positive outcomes.

When working through any cellular change, physical and emotional unrest can arise. Oftentimes, people need a release for pent-up aggression, frustration, anger, grief, or disappointment. That’s when exercise, meditation, therapy, and even sports become helpful. It is important to have a conduit for stored energy that would otherwise be kept in reserve or released less productively or healthily.


We are all human. As such, we are prone to conscious and unconscious bias, mistakes, imperfections, flaws, and lapses in judgment. But we also have the capacity for great love and forgiveness. We can make tomorrow better than today and much better than yesterday if we choose to change ourselves and cooperate with others. The inherent competitiveness that has been so pervasive in our culture has helped our nation excel in so many areas yet fall short in so many others.

Should a society completely do away with competition? I think not. Yet competition becomes disabling when parties spend so much effort warring with each other that there is no more energy reserved for meaningful progress. We have come so far. Yet we have so far to go. Perhaps with greater awareness of the benefits and beauty of diversity, we will come to a place of greater harmony among all people. When we come together for a common cause, we are truly at our best. When we act out of love and concern for each other, that’s when we shine most brightly.