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.