Can You Be A Feminist and Have An Eye Lash Perm?

Before and After

You’re right, that is a weird question. It’s something during my long career as a ‘professional feminist’ (that’s what my son calls me) that I’ve pondered often: is it truly feminist to care what you look like? Surely if I was a true feminist I would eschew all the trappings of make up and fashion.

Well, some people would say that they thought I already did that. I’m not much bothered about what I wear about  75% of the time but now and again I do like to make an effort. Age has given me the wisdom that the younger me did not have and I do not feel compelled to whack on the mascara when I go out now; I’m very happy with a naked, ageing face to present to the world. My standard response when challenged was to say I dress to please myself. Vanity begone! (See above, I haven’t airbrushed out any wrinkles. OK, so I don’t actually know how to airbrush but if I did I would still leave them in.)

In principle, I believe it doesn’t matter at all how we look, and of course I get furious when women are judged on their looks or clothes, usually to their detriment. ‘Myself’ includes all the images of women I have been subjected to over the years, all the unrealistic, touched up images, and the vagaries of fashion (yes, I tottered on platform shoes in my youth and wore orange mini skirts from Martin Ford – anyone remember that shop?). Some I have rejected but some have clearly stuck. I am a product of the times I have lived through.

I also love being pampered. Hence the eyelash perm. I had never heard of an eyelash perm before my massage lass mentioned it. Oh yes, I have a regular massage (therapeutic, honestly) and my masseuse was having a beauty student in to observe, hence the eyelash discussion. My interest was piqued once I realised that it meant lying down for an hour on a heated couch, always a good thing in my book. Sign me up I said.

So, I’ve have had my eyelashes permed and I feel as feminist as ever. Just with thicker lashes….

On a more serious note I was prompted to write this after reading about the vile abuse meted out to The Guardian journalist, Sali Hughes. I met Sali once, albeit briefly, in the Green Room at Woman’s Hour. She writes about beauty and also set up the Beauty Bank initiative, donating cosmetics and similar to women in need. Sadly, a significant group of people think this makes her a suitable target for some trolling, and they are mainly women. You can read more on that here. Women who don’t bother get trolled, women who do bother get trolled. For heaven’s sake. Sending solidarity and support to Sali.

New Year Resolutions

Do you still bother making any? I don’t really, beyond wanting to be a kinder better person, obviously. One I do try to renew every year is to stop judging other women. We are all a product of the times we have grown up in and the conditioning we have endured. Let’s try and cut everyone a bit of slack. Kindness as a quality is hugely underrated and heaven knows, we need a bit in the world right now.


In case you haven’t heard I have a new course running this January. ReVitalYouAll details are here, in my brand new office/training room near Bath. Come and join us and get revitalised!

The Changing Room

Changing People licences experienced trainers, coaches and organisations to deliver its International RenewYou programme for women. Read more about it here


Posted on January 8th, 2020 by

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