The Current

Anchor Tracey Spicer goes 'au naturel' to protest 'extreme grooming'

Australian television anchor Tracey Spicer was beginning to feel like a "painted doll" — but now she's tossed the lipstick, the hair products, and the layers of pancake.
Tracey Spicer is done with the beauty regime that gave her the look on the left. (James Brickwood/Daily Life)

An interesting little cultural experiment in audience awareness was revealed last year in Australia when the cohost of a TV program said he'd worn the same suit on the air — for a whole year. No one even noticed.

Karl Stefanovic said he wanted to prove that women on television, including his co-host, are held to a different standard than men. They're judged on how they look instead of how well they do their job.

Fellow Aussie Tracey Spicer has known that for some time, but only recently became fed up. The broadcaster, host, and writer realized that after 30 years in the business, she had become — in her words — "a painted doll" and decided to ditch the hair, makeup, and other beauty routines that cost her $200 a week.

Spicer joined us from Sydney, Australia to share her unvarnished truths.

Not all women, of course, avoid the hair and makeup aisles. Many defend their lip gloss or visit to the esthetician as confidence-boosters and even a method of self-expression.

Kim Milan is an artist, writer, and executive director and co-founder of The People Project. She joined us from New York City.

Most women would agree at least to some degree that cosmetics are a bother. But makeup is a lot more than mere nuisance.

Paula Martin is the director of the Women's Studies department at Georgia Southwestern State University. We spoke to her in Americus, Georgia.

What do you think of this debate? Are women being expected to look like "painted dolls"? Or is makeup empowering? Weigh in on Twitter @TheCurrentCBC, Facebook, or by email.

This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino and Marc Apollonio.