The phrase “I have a little problem with compliance” is going to be adopted as the mission statement for our Bad Daughters Club. In case you missed it, this was the quote from Frances McDormand’s BAFTA acceptance speech to explain why she wasn’t wearing black as part of the #Timesup campaign, despite supporting it.
She was a breath of fresh air at this annual luvvie bubble of an evening. Not only did she ignore the crowd and go her own way dress-wise, she also seemed to sidestep the hair and makeup department on her way to the Awards. None of this mattered. What she said and how she behaved was far more important than a frock, a hairdo and some lippy.
Conversely this week I also realised that a hairdo and some lippy can make all the difference, from conversations with three different friends, caring for frail Mums. All have been ill this winter and it transpires that the real barometer of failing and improving health was the application of lipstick and a trip to the hairdressers.
One friend said she knew it was time to take action when she arrived to find her Mum with no lipstick on – an event not witnessed in the last 60 years; another friend knew her Mum was finally feeling better when she refused to see the Doctor without her makeup on for the first time in a month. And the third friend was celebrating that a visit to the hairdresser had turned her frail, ailing mum into literally a new woman.
Did these lovely ladies feel better because they had returned to their view of normal or compliance, or had the return to normality made them feel better? I expect a combination of the two.
I also heard Helena Morrissey speak recently. She is a senior woman in the City with nine, yes nine, children and is founder of the 30% club to encourage women and diversity on company boards.
I was hoping to dislike her assuming she was bound to be the poster (or billboard) woman for having it all – easy on her salary with a stay at home husband I thought. But I came away admiring a woman who has challenged the status quo to pursue her goals thanks largely to her own problem with compliance.
For all of us who find ourselves judging and being judged for what we do and how we do it, having such a problem with compliance may serve us well. It might be less exhausting and more rewarding to worry less about what is normal, acceptable or compliant.
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri is an extraordinary film. Frances McDormand’s character exemplifies all that the Bad Daughters Club aspires to celebrate – strong, bloody-minded women who won’t take no for an answer, whatever it takes. Whether you choose to do it with lipstick and great hair is entirely up to you.
This article first appeared in the Eastern Daily Press, 22.2.18. Bad Daughters Club blog #2