The catalyst for writing this post came in the form of a post on a friend’s Facebook page where she posted a link to this article. While the ‘extreme grooming’ that is described in the article is about a television presenter, it can be seen every day in our offices and shops.
Then just to top it off I found another link via Facebook about the ‘social experiment’ conducted by Karl Stefanovic. He wore the same suit every day for a year – and no-one noticed. This was his silent protest to highlight the way his female co-hosts were constantly judged and critiqued on what they wore and their hairstyles.
These articles in the media highlight the unreasonable pressures and expectations that society has on women in general and more specifically women who are constantly in the spotlight such as television presenters. It saddens me to realise how much of this pressure is on women in all walks of life.
There have been small, incremental steps to break down these ‘societal norms’ but we must all be a part of the solution if things are really to change. The Little Brown Dress project by Alexa Martin in 2005 – 2006 chronicled her anti-consumerism stance in which she wore the same dress every day for a year. Like Karl Stefanovic, no-one really noticed. Project 333, is loosely based on the same principle – have a small number of clothes that you wear and love and realise that the world mostly does not care what you wear. Anyway, none of us should be defined by the clothes we wear.
To return to the first link in this post, make-up and grooming are yet another facet of us feeling the expectation that we have to present ourselves to the world in a certain way.
I have never been a great fan of make-up and tend to keep my make-up to an absolute minimum. I no longer colour my hair and have a small but much-loved selection of clothes. My clothes fit my lifestyle and I feel good in them.
What about you? Do you feel pressured to present a certain face to the world? Does your workplace have an expectation of how you are groomed?
Very interesting post. Sadly women are still expected to be ‘over groomed’.
Yes, there is a lot of pressure. The more that this issue is discussed, the more that we can make more people aware of the injustice of it.
I only use a light blush, lipstick and powder on a work day or going out. Nothing at home except the moisturiser with sunscreen. However I am on the uniform committee at work and whilst we have a uniform now our director would like to see a much more polished corporate image for our suburban office with little to no customer contact. Why???
Where I work hardly anyone wears make-up, no one cares. I still like to wear a little but I am regularly shocked when I go into town and see young women who obviously use a trowel to apply their foundation as it is so thick.
My 14 year old son said to me ‘I don;t know why girls wear all that stuff on their face, it just makes them look ugly’ – sums it up really!!
Thank goodness you are on the uniform committee! Stand and and point out the stupidity of this approach. People in non-customer facing roles such as your office should not be pushed into an image that is totally unnecessary. We should be neatly and appropriately dressed but “a polished image”? Why? Who are they trying to impress? The most important thing about a uniform policy is that the garments are easy to wear and launder as well as being suitable for all shapes and sizes – not just the size 8 staff.
Great post, great share!
Here in India, the extreme make-up never had any real chance: the hot sun foils all our plans. 🙂 There is, I must say, a counter-culture growing to the cult of “prettifying women always”. Personally though I’ve never been a make-up fan, a lipstick and moisturiser is my go-to combo for a casual/business or even a party event. I might line my eyes, that’s all. A bigger development on this front though, is that I have switched to a whole lot of natural products I make myself. Some formulations that work beautifully. A home made body oil, deo, and even ointment for chapped lips. I still swear by a pedicure.
I don’t use make up at all, never have and never will. Clean hair, rosy glow, sparkle in the eyes and a friendly smile is what I offer my employer and our clients. The skin is the largest organ and absorbs what is put on it. The thought of carrying all those chemicals on our face and body should put all of us off using make up and other beauty products. I recently read that the skin biom has the ability to clean and deodorise itself but is destroyed by soaps. Imagine that, showering in just water and a good scrub with a brush or face cloth. It sounds extreme but apparently it works. A company is actually selling (at a huge price) bottled good skin bacteria to restore the skin biom that is destroyed by soaps.