The Huffington Post | By Alanna Vagianos
Are you a “vain fool?”
You’d be in the company of self-professed beauty addict, Tracey Spicer, an Australian journalist who introduces herself as a “vain fool” in her Dec. 2013 TEDx SouthBankWomen talk about beauty routines.
“Today I’d like us to reassess the amount of time we spend on our grooming and the affect it has on our productivity. Imagine what we could achieve if we weren’t beholden to society’s unreasonable expectations about how we should look.”
To open the presentation, Spicer details her time-consuming — and often painful — daily beauty routine. From going on a run at 6 a.m. even though “no one is chasing me with an axe,” to applying a plethora of lotions, serums and gels, Spicer perfectly illustrates just how absurd our grooming processes can be. Why do we do this to ourselves? Spicer is spot on when she answers: “Because it’s bullshit.”
Spicer discusses the ever-present unrealistic images of women and how they negatively affect women’s health, happiness and overall wellbeing. While many might already know how these images affect women, Spicer offers a unique perspective by analyzing what we could do with all the hours usually used for grooming:
Women take an average of 27 minutes to get ready for work. Over a year, that is 10 full working days. That’s an awful lot of productivity lost … Over our lives on average, women will take 3,276 hours in grooming. For men it’s 1,092 … That’s about a third. Do you know what we could do over those 3,276 hours? We could complete a pre-MBA course at Oxford Business School, become proficient at a musical instrument or learn another language.
If that wasn’t trouble enough, Spicer goes on to explain that excess grooming time has been shown to decrease earnings.
Whether it’s for personal enjoyment or professional purposes, Spicer understands that women’s motivations to partake in beauty routines are subjective. In order to move away from excessive, unserviceable grooming, she lists three ways women can trim the fat from their individual daily beauty routines:
1) Take note of the number of minutes your personal grooming eats up over a day, week and month.
2) Think about all the other things you could be doing: writing a book; meditating; spending time with family.
3) Decide what you can reduce or live without.
Tracey Spicer’s focus on what beauty maintenance takes — rather than what it gives — is a refreshing angle worth taking to heart. Imagine what we could achieve if we took some advice from Ms. Spicer.
What would you do if you used your grooming time for something else? Comment below, or tweet @HuffPostWomen.