Your body your rules.
That's what women keep being told, but we still have a long way to go before that really is the case.
To ditch the dye and embrace the grey, or not, has to be ???? a woman’s choice, without fear of judgment on both sides.
The fact that the award winning news anchor Lisa LaFlamme has recently been ousted from her job at Canadian CTV News shortly after ditching the dye appears to be no coincidence. There is obviously more to this situation but it does raise the on going question around sexism and ageism in the workplace.
With reports that a male senior executive questioned "who had approved the decision to let Lisa’s hair go grey?’”. Would this ever be asked about a ‘silver-fox’ man in the same position? LaFlamme is a successful, award winning anchorwoman with a 35 year career at CTV, why does the colour of her hair have any relevance?
Grey hair, do care!
I don’t care what women do with their hair, it’s not our job to have an opinion on anybody else’s appearance but I do care when women feel pressured into making choices about their own bodies based on ageist and sexist pressure in the workplace, by peers and society's outdated expectations.
We have to start questioning and challenging this outdated, damaging narrative and empower women who do want to let their hair go grey with confidence.
The grey hair movement is still pushing forward but at a very slow speed! That's why Annie Stirk and I started Silver & Sassy, because we know all too well from our own experience of going grey how other peoples' opinions can knock your confidence. You can find out more about Silver and Sassy in a previous blog post here
Why does grey hair cause so much discussion?
I'm still surprised how much controversy the grey hair debate can cause amongst a group of women, it's very divisive and it really doesn't have to be. I'm all for women doing what they want with their hair, if they want to keep dyeing it until they're in their 90's because it makes them feel good, then fantastic, do what's right for you.
The problem arises when a woman who would like to embrace their grey hair is talked out of it because of other peoples expectations. When I decided to stop colouring my hair at 46 , I put a post on Facebook and all the comments except one were negative, albeit tongue in cheek but there's always a true word spoken in jest! Comments like "Don't do it, you're too young"; "It will make you look older" or "You're too young to let yourself go" was the common theme of the conversation. Fast forward 6 years and now everyone loves my grey hair and I couldn't imagine it being any different colour.
I feel 100% like my authentic self and that's been liberating.
Old and Grey
How many times have you heard the words "old and grey" together, whether it's song lyrics or in conversation. We have a deep fear around ageing that is ingrained in our society, that grey hair is a visible sign of the ageing process that seems to scare people. We are judged by the colour of our hair and grey is still equated to being old and 'grannyish' which is probably why you'll hear that women are "brave' for ditching the dye so often, because we're going against the grain.
So, who created this narrative in the first place? The haircare industry is worth billions of pounds so it suits those brands to sell us those insecurities and promote hair dyes at every opportunity. If you look back to previous hair brand adverts it's easy to see how they've perpetuated this negative narrative.
Starting with a shocking 1920's advert saying" Decline to be grey as long as youth beats in your heart" along with Clairols 1980's Loving Care advert with the "I'm gonna wash that grey right outta my hair" ditty and you get the picture!
It's interesting to see Dove's response a week after LaFlamme's departure with their #backthegrey social media campaign. We need more brands like this to be committed to breaking down the stereotypical views of beauty to create real change in the industry.
Where are the grey-haired role models?
There are famous women in the film and media world, like Andie McDowell, Dame Judy Dench, Jamie Lee Curtis and of course the fabulous Dame Helen Mirren, who are starting to fly the flag which is great to see but if you look on mainstream TV for women in their 40's and 50's, you will be hard pressed to find any grey haired women cast as role models. I was pleasantly surprised to see Melinda Messenger share a post recently about her own decision to ditch the dye.
"It's taken me 51 years to see that I was always good enough, so I don't want to spend the next years of my life feeling I have to be anything other than just myself. I have finally given myself permission to just be"
I love this sentiment and can totally relate. With this in mind perhaps it really is time for women to take back control of our bodies. Let's make decisions about our own appearance; based on what makes US feel good and not to keep anyone else happy!
Whatever you decide to do with your hair...
Keep being fabulous!
For more grey hair inspiration visit the blog here