All personnel in the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) have been given the OK to wear false eyelashes, nail polish and makeup under new gender-neutral guidelines designed to maintain its military image.
The news was announced just hours before the RNZN paused to embrace Trafalgar Day, the traditional celebration of the victory won by the Royal Navy, commanded by Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, over the combined French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805.
The changes come as the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) updates its grooming and appearance guidelines to make the force “more inclusive.”
“These updates are to reflect that the RNZN make no distinction between male and female members in terms of their personal grooming and appearance,” Chief of Navy Rear Admiral David Proctor confirmed to Newshub.
“The NZDF can confirm that as of November 1, 2019, guidelines around grooming and appearance for Royal New Zealand Navy personnel will be updated,” said Proctor.
“These changes reflect that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as an organisation, as are the unique traditions and characteristics of the RNZN.”
Proctor said the RNZN’s grooming standards are based on neatness, cleanliness, safety and military image.
As of November 1, all Navy personnel are permitted to wear discreet makeup, clear or pale nail varnish when in uniform, “trimmed, neat and natural” false eyelashes, one pair of “natural coloured” stud or sleeper earrings and perfume or cologne in moderation.
Rings may be worn on a maximum of two fingers.
Navy personnel are also allowed to use natural-coloured hair dye or have their hair “lightly tipped”, as long as it’s clean and neatly groomed. Long hair is also permitted in a bun or single plait to ensure safety and tidiness.
The appearance guidelines still prohibit body piercings, “exaggerated hairstyles” (partially shaved heads, mohawks, undercuts and “zigzagging of hair” included) and hair accessories.
“These standards are designed to present an inclusive, professional military image,” said Proctor. “The RNZN is a modern and professional organisation that embraces individuality and personality.
“However, we are a military organisation and with that comes certain expectations on our personnel in terms of dress and appearance.”