How This Educational Nonprofit Is Deconstructing Beauty With Free Online Classes

This won’t be your average makeup tutorial.

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Class is in session this month at Slow Factory’s Open Edu program, which will dissect and explore a range of beauty topics for their November “Beauty and the Beast” focus. With the schedule already underway, this week the human rights and environmental justice organization hosted a class on “Men, Masculinity, and Makeup” with David Yi, exploring the history of men and masc-identifying folx’s relationship to beauty and asking how we can how can we mend our relationship with masculinity.

It’s not too late to join the weekly classes, with a class on unlearning Eurocentric beauty standards with TooD Beauty founder Shari Siadat happening on Friday, November 12 and a class exploring white supremacy and the beauty landscape with Dr. Yaba Blay next Friday, November 19. You can also tune in to watch the videos after the live events via a Zoom link, after registering.

Each year, the Slow Factory Open Edu program—which is free—attracts thousands of students from around the world for their anti-colonial, intersectional classes. Based on a model of open learning, of the 23,000 who have registered to date, 70% are BIPOC and nearly 90% are under the age of 30. For this fall, Slow Factory has partnered with the likes of Adidas and TooD Beauty to deliver the lineup of weekly classes.

In the “Unlearning Euro-Centric Beauty Standards” class this week, TooD Beauty founder Shari Siadat will discuss her experience with the unilateral notion of beauty, as a first-generation Iranian American. “TooD believes in non-toxic formulas and non-toxic thinking, which is completely aligned with Slow Factory’s ethos and practices,” she said. “Our partnership exemplifies a perfect marriage of two organizations that embody activism, social justice, and green consumerism as a holistic approach to both business and life.”

In next week’s class (which you’ll only be able to watch live), exploring white supremacy, Dr. Yaba Blay will discuss why beauty is political for Black people globally. It will explore connections between beauty and White supremacy, and demonstrate how the notion of beauty functions as an agent of white supremacy.

If you’re a fan of tuning into makeup tutorials, this course won’t look like your average beauty class. Instead of learning how to do a specific technique or look, it will challenge you to zoom out and look at the beauty industry, in order to deconstruct harmful standards and make a clear pathway to a more inclusive future. With that in mind, it’s definitely not one for beauty enthusiasts to miss and you’ll be able to sign up for specific classes all through this month.

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