Radio 4 Woman's Hour is a constant source of information, inspiration and Naga chilli-hot topics...so well done Team Murray, and the recent discussion about whether dyeing grey hair is a feminist issue was absorbing!
On a personal note, my hair has ticked most colour boxes over the last 3 decades of my 'style evolution' and even though the cut has been fairly consistent, the colour and shading combinations would put Laga Gaga to shame! Until recently that is! Budget wise, the supergrass nature of my hair has always meant numerous trips to the salon and even though one of the largest expense categories in my accounts has always been my hair, it is not simply a financial re-evaluation that is changing my cosmetological behaviour! I actually like how my hair is greying. Did I say that out loud? Will I now be tying a piece of leather to my glasses to prevent losing them?
When silver streaks appeared, I immediately hit the colour charts but a few positive comments from an assortment of passers-by, airline stewards and friends gave me confidence to embrace the change, especially when they genuinely thought I had highlights! However, not all comments have been positive and the negative ones have usually favoured and promoted the cultural ideal of image and staying young, a point substantiated by a guest on Woman's Hour. "We are culturally conditioned to hang onto youth rather than go boldly grey" and therefore, to reveal the silver can be seen as a weakness, a giving in, a betrayal to the 'forever young crowd' and sadly, in some industries, an exit door or a barrier to promotion. (For women, that is.)
Is embracing the grey a feminist decision? Firstly, going grey is not merely a female issue - men face it too but without the same amount of pressure and stigma attached. Secondly, it's about choice...and surely feminism is about the freedom to choose rather than being driven by fear to conform. Whether I am a feminist or not...embracing my grey continues to be a complex matter of peaceful negotiation within ...and right now, my colour choice does not diminish me, sideline me or mean I have 'let myself go'. Quite the opposite, like so many others around me, I am attempting to face and navigate the creative nuances of ageing with courage!
So let's applaud and support one another through life's transitions rather than label, stigmatize or judge superficially. After all, isn't grey the new black...?