"Sexy By Nature" (Book Review)
It’s difficult to describe Stefani Ruper’s new book, Sexy By Nature. I thought about calling it a how-to guide, a self-help book, or a manual for women’s wellness. But none of these are entirely accurate, so I will let the author speak for herself.
The following quotation comes from the Paleo for Women Facebook page, an online community Stefani founded.
Sexy by Nature is a movement. It calls women to own and to love themselves as natural, evolved beings. It demands health, it demands love, and it demands recognition of the power, beauty, and unapologetic radiance of natural womanhood.
It’s a great message, but I will admit I was a bit skeptical that it could be fully articulated in a little over 300 pages. Then again, based on some of my favorite posts Stefani has written over the last couple years since I found her blog, I was also confident if anyone could pull it off, Stefani would be the one to do it.
A Shift in Perspective
Stefani proposes a shift in perspective in the way we think about being sexy, which is best summarized in what Stefani calls The Sexy by Nature Golden Rule. This rule reads, “Your body is a natural body with natural needs that, when loved properly, loves you right back.”
From this rule, Stefani derives seven “Nature Rules,” which she outlines in the first chapter. These rules delineate the differences between Stefani’s conception of what it is to be sexy and previous cultural interpretations. For example, the first Nature Rule, “Celebratory Uniqueness,” is contrasted with the Old Rule, “Beauty Conformity.” These seven rules outline the more philosophical tenets of Stefani’s definition of sexiness.
A Shift in Lifestyle
Chapter Two, entitled “Nourish,” describes the second step to take on your road to natural sexiness: change your diet. As someone who follows most of Stefani’s diet recommendations already, nothing here was particularly new to me, but for many readers her advice will be revolutionary. Stefani advocates a paleo diet with a good dose of organ meats, fat, and fermented foods. This is a far cry from the diet most women have come to think of as healthy.
In Chapters Three and Four, Stefani outlines her recommendations for diet, sleep, birth control, exercise, and other lifestyle factors. These recommendations are accessible and geared towards women who are starting on their journey. None of the explanations are lengthy, and you won’t find a long list of studies at the end of the chapter. As a lover of research, I had mixed feelings about this. But then I took a step back and considered how odd it would be for a book about being sexy to read like a textbook. I also got the sense after seeing Stefani talk at Paleo f(x) that her approach is more sisterly than scholarly. Think less college lecture on the phenomenon of sexiness and more a cocktail hour discussion of what it means to be sexy, and you will get an idea of the tone of this book.
That being said, Stefani has included a solid list of resources in the back of her book for all the bookworms out there. I was happy to see some of my favorite less conventional books included on that list, such as Wenda Trevathan’s Ancient Bodies, Modern Lives, Toni Weschler’s classic, Taking Charge of Your Fertility, and Pam England’s Birthing From Within. Stefani has also included a list of notes in the back with citations for many of the facts presented in the book. And in case you would like more information on topics like birth control and PCOS, Stefani has written two other eBooks on those topics, which are available at her website.
The book concludes with a short chapter entitled “Strut.” Here we come full circle to the principles Stefani started with and learn how to achieve what she calls the “bedrock of all the attitude shifts that I describe in this book”: self-love. Stefani’s passion for helping women come to an acceptance and love for their own natural self shines through in this chapter, and I thought it was a perfect ending.
Who This Book Is For
The best part of Stefani’s book is her own voice. Stefani has that rare ability to balance a no-B.S. attitude with a warm and non-judgmental approach to women’s wellness. Her writing is sassy but friendly, informing but not intimidating. For this reason, I highly recommend this book for any women who struggle with body image issues (and who doesn’t, from time to time?) or are looking for a way out of our cultural paradigm of what it means to be a sexy woman.
“Sexy By Nature” is available for $20.50 at Amazon.com.