God, that feels better. See, I literally do have three inches of make-up [ball]. Oh, thank God. All right. What can I deconstruct next? This is fun. This is just like pulling a Barbie doll apart.
Now the hair is more difficult, because this is what my hair looks like usually. An electrocuted puddle or a blonde afro as it was known at university. Now any woman knows that getting caught in the rain is the best way of getting frizzy hair. So let’s hope this works and doesn’t short-half the microphone or in some way electrocute myself because then the cameramen down there and the news journalists will have a really great story.
Well, that’s better. All right. That should undoubtedly take effect in a few minutes, I’m telling you. All right. I love this dress. See how emotional we are when it comes to clothing. I freaking love this dress. But we shouldn’t love pieces of fabric, we should be loving people. This dress becomes constricting after a couple of hours. I can’t think properly. I feel like I can’t breathe, so it’s coming off.
Now I know what it feels like to be a stripper. This is awesome. That’s OK.
Now I get to high heels. I could do a whole speech on high heels, frankly. We all know they’re the tools of the patriarchy. But we get caught up in how they make our legs look longer and more shapely. But they’re bloody uncomfortable. We also get caught up in the narrative that we’re expressing our individuality, our economic power and our strength through them. Well, that’s bullshit, too.
Remember Sex and the City. That’s gone. There we go. I grew up in Queensland, so I am extremely comfortable in [inaudible]. So this is me. The real Tracey Spicer without my armor, because that’s what it is. There’s a reason why a woman [befont] is called her helmet of hair. We do this to physically protect ourselves.
I have a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer recently and she had chemotherapy. And believe it or not, she said, the worst thing was all her hair falling out, that she always felt like a lion with this mane of hair. And that she felt like the biblical Samson without that power; sad, isn’t it?
Quite obviously, I couldn’t go to work with this. Most of us couldn’t. I love the idea of binning our bras and not shaving our legs. I did that when I was at university. It was marvelously liberating. But I think with this fourth wave of feminism, we need a new way. And so I’ve devised three easy steps. If they all come up, one easy step is I should let my technology build.
Step one: Take note of the number of minutes your personal grooming takes over a day, week, month, year and lifetime. You’ll be shocked by how much time we spend on this stuff.
Step two: Think about the other things you could be doing. Writing a book, meditating, learning how to surf, learning how to sing, doing a master’s, doing a PhD. You know, whatever it is, think about what you wanted to do when you were a kid. We only have one life. We don’t know when it’s going to wean. Your mothers would think about all those things you wanted to do as a kid and think right, I can do that now.
Step three: Decide what you can reduce or live without. This is a really difficult thing and it’s different for every woman. And I don’t want to be prescriptive about it. As an example for me, it will be simplifying my hairdo 45 minutes a day, all at once hair is ridiculous. Minimizing the make-up on television and continuing to not wear it off camera. Stopping painting my nails and my tummy. Who said that women’s nails need to be shiny and colorful and men’s don’t. It is an absurdity. And getting rid of the fat tag. I mean, it’s expensive. And it’s full of nasty chemicals.
Like any change, this will take some time to remove society’s lace of expectations about how a woman should look. And there will be backlash, there always is. But I hope that everyone here in this room goes home today and at least has a think about this time spent and its effect on productivity and reassesses that mathematical equation. Because if we do this, I assure you we will be happier, we will be healthier. And we will be more productive.
My name is Tracey Spicer and I am no longer a vain fool.