Do Women in Armed Forces Need ‘Hair That Sways Through Storms’?

A retired naval officer lashes out at hair care brand RichFeel for its sexist and absurd hair care campaign.

4 min read
Do Women in Armed Forces Need ‘Hair That Sways Through Storms’?
RichFeel Gives Indian Defence Women, The Hair That Sways Through Storms. The ‘Project Women Empowerment’ aims to empower defence ladies/widows by providing them a two-month rigorous training and free consultation (sic).

This is the latest promotion for a ‘women empowerment’ campaign by hair care brand RichFeel.

For the first two minutes, I couldn’t really make out what they wanted me to do —laugh, be amused or really rip them apart. I definitely did not go “Wow! This is so cool! I am so going to use this brand.”

Well, if you are talking about women in the defence (or even retired ones like me) this is one of the most ridiculous and over-the-top ads / programs I’ve ever heard of. 

I sent it across to a few of my friends, men and women, serving, retired and civilian friends. A male civilian friend piped up, “Ha Ha !! Really. Women empowerment with hair care! Lol.”


2 Months for a Beauty Course? Too Long!

If a typical fauji hasn’t already thrown this idea out of the window by now, what is contained in the program with a view to empower a set of women who are far more empowered than most in the country, they will rip it apart with the multiple weapons they can handle, or perhaps, bare hands. Okay, that’s a little over the top but then, who started it?

To be fair, I asked my daughter for a comment, and with all of her eighteen-year-old wisdom, she gave me a civilian matter-of-fact perspective: “While it has a convincing selling point, it might not be received with enthusiasm by those who view this as stereotypical”.

Her next question was, “Are you going to get your hair done?” (She has beautiful tresses she’s too lazy to bother about.)

Getting back to the program, the brand provides ‘two months of vocational training’ to the serving women of the armed forces to ‘equip them with the basics of beauty and hair care’.

What? Vocational? Two months? Are they serious? It takes us less than a week to learn how to dismantle and fire a semi-automatic. The course is apparently called ‘Beautiful Naturally’.

One serving naval officer said, “Two months of rigorous training for what? On how to look beautiful? I doubt the women in the armed forces have that much time! And how is this related to women empowerment?” (She, by the way, has a gorgeous mane.)

RichFeel’s Hair-Raising Campaign

What RichFeel is offering is, according to them ‘vocational training’. It made me wonder if they believe taking two precious months to look beautiful ‘naturally’ (which by the way, we already do), was meant to tell us we would all have the capacity to be usefully employed post-retirement, at a salon or open up a franchise of our own under their banner. Waiving the consultation fee charitably was the final nail in the coffin. Too much ‘charity for empowerment’ to digest!

My request to those who came up with this brainwave is to stop, pause, and think about this initiative for a moment. The last thing on our minds is our hair when we are out doing whatever you think it is we do. You’ve got this all wrong and you need to think of changing the team who put you onto this.

The length of our hair is a personal choice. You need to take a look at how stunning the women look in uniform, without cakes of make-up on their face, and as for the gorgeous tresses for those who have them – it could put some of your hair treatment results to shame.


Long Hair or Short Hair? Don’t Care!

My personal preference, despite retiring from the armed forces almost seventeen years ago, is to keep it at the length that fixes all my issues – 3 mm and at a healthy texture. I’ve retained hair at below the shoulder length and at a near-bald one too. Bald is also just as beautiful. If RichFeel wants, I can always send them a mug shot!

We are essentially looking to solve more crucial issues than a “vocational program” to give us expert abilities to look after our hair and make us look ‘beautiful naturally’ (sigh!).

The only things a woman in the armed forces wants are more combat roles and permanent commission. If you are capable of doing that for us, we might just promote your brand for free.

Until then, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!”

(Sandhya Suri is a retired naval officer. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)

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