GV club to speak on faith within feminism

By Rachel Huck | 2/17/16 8:29pm

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GVL/Luke Holmes Clare Holmes (left) starts the meeting by explaining what the Raw Beauty Initiative is all about Oct. 17. The Raw Beauty Initiative is a Christian-based woman’s group based on Grand Valley’s campus.


Women today are held to many standards based on media and societal norms. However, one Grand Valley State University group speaks for a new-found inner beauty through faith.

On Feb. 27, GVSU’s Raw Beauty Initiative brings “the New Feminist.” The group hopes to provide women with a place to “seek, find and create beauty.”

The Raw Beauty Initiative was founded by the University Christian Outreach (UCO). Elizabeth Wesley serves as the current student leader of the UCO.

“So often, women feel pressurized to look a certain way and to act a certain way in order to appear beautiful in the eyes of the world,” Wesley said. “The Raw Beauty Initiative was created with the purpose of helping women realize that beauty is not based on external factors, but on internal ones.”

The discussion will focus on the three traits of love, quietness and strength, including what these look like in Christian women. In addition, Wesley will speak on her own identity as a woman of Christ.

“The main message of the New Feminist event is that true feminism is found in Christ,” Wesley said. “A new feminist is someone who finds her identity as a woman of Christ; someone who exhibits the traits of love, quietness and strength, not through her own merits, but through the merits of Christ.”

The Raw Beauty Initiative’s events always begin with food, drinks and an opportunity for attendees to mingle and get to know one another.

“We want to become vulnerable to who we are and to how we see our own individual and unique beauty,” said Clare Holmes, member of the UCO staff. “We want to seek these truths through the one who created us, from the God who loves us, his daughters and his women.”

Angelique Nowak, guest speaker for the event, said women choose not to waste their time, energy and emotion on “trying to be men.” Instead, she said they work to become empowered on their true creation as a woman.

“I’m hoping the women, after hearing this talk, will know that they have nothing to prove to the world,” Nowak said. “They can live in the true freedom of knowing that men are not our enemies. Other women are not our enemies. We are in competition with no one but ourselves.

“We only have to conquer our own fears in dealing with the greatness that we have been called into.”

The Raw Beauty Initiative will host another discussion this semester on March 19 and April 16. The group meets one Saturday every month, and welcomes new members.

“We want women to discover and understand their own personal beauties and to gain confidence in them from one another, instead of holding each other to the world’s standards,” Holmes said. “We want to transform the viewpoint of women from comparison to appreciation for our diversity and individuality.”

To wrap up the school year, the Raw Beauty Initiative has a backpacking trip in the works for May.

“It is important that students are involved in events like these, because it creates an atmosphere of truth and of love,” Wesley said. “I believe that the women of Grand Valley who truly take this message to heart will have a positive impact on those around them, whether it be classmates, professors, co-workers or roommates.

"As a result, more people will hear this message and be uplifted and encouraged by it.”

The Raw Beauty Initiative’s New Feminist event will take place at 9:30 a.m. in the Kirkhof Center’s Thornapple Room and is free to attend.

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