And for months I struggled about how to answer her. I thought I can’t say because, honey, it makes me look better, because that implies that women don’t like the way they look naturally. I can’t say, it makes me feel better, because that points to pathologically low self-esteem. What I do say to her is, “Darling, I don’t like it. It’s not right. But it’s what society expects of women. And I’m doing whatever I can in my very very small way to try to change that. Hopefully by the time, you’re a young woman, you won’t have to go through this”.
I remember when I was a young woman at my first job in journalism at a metropolitan radio station, I was breakfast news editor. And I’d come in at 3:30 in the morning, no make-up, wet hair, straight-up out of a shower. Sometimes I’d come in in my pajamas, because it was so early. But I still got the job done, you know.
And the boss came in one day and he said, “Tracey, I need to talk to you about your attitude”.
I said, “Yes, what’s this all about?”
And he said, “You need to tidy up your act. You’re not looking professional”.
And I was genuinely perplexed. I said, “What do you mean?”
He said, “Well, you can at least put on make-up once in a while!”
I said, “How does that make me more professional?”