As self-confessed beauty junkies, this is a hard pill for us to swallow. But Zadie Smith certainly has a point. Are we spending so long looking in the mirror, carefully applying the perfect cat flick eyeliner, when we could be out there plotting to overthrow the patriarchy before breakfast?
The award-winning author of ‘Swing Time’, ‘White Teeth’ and ‘On Beauty’ aired her frustration at her daughter and other girls spending too much time preening themselves.
She told The Times she thought they were fools for wasting time on their face when boys were fast “out the door” to achieve things. Smith feels so strongly about it that she has imposed a 15-minute time limit on her daughter, Kit.
“I explained it to her in these terms: you are wasting time, your brother is not going to waste any time doing this,” she said.
“Every day of his life he will put a shirt on, he’s out the door and he doesn’t give a shit if you waste an hour and a half doing your make-up.”
We have to admit, when we’ve got to go, we won’t be sitting there for hours on a Kim Kardashian-esque contour look. But social pressure is such that, whether we like it or not, there are some psychological benefits to looking like we’ve taken care of ourselves. Whether it’s the confidence that we get from wearing an awesome red lipstick, or the ability to look fresh and awake with a dab of concealer under the eyes, we’re immediately giving an impression of ourselves as creative, competent and on the ball.
On the flip side, men certainly aren’t doing it. And they don’t need to do it. We don’t owe our prettiness to anyone, least of all to prove we can do a bloody good job. Equally, though, we have some sympathy for men in that it isn’t more widely socially acceptable for them to wear make-up, top. When they’ve been hard at it all weekend, it shows, and there’s nothing they can do about it or face the wrath of the gendered norm.
What do you think? Is Zadie Smith right? Are we wasting too much time on beauty and not enough conquering the world? Tell us on social media.