New gender-neutral guidelines will allow male Navy personnel to wear makeup, false eyelashes

New changes will  reflect greater diversity and inclusion in the RNZN.
New changes will reflect greater diversity and inclusion in the RNZN. Photo credit: Left: Getty; Right: Royal New Zealand Navy

The New Zealand Defence Force will be updating its grooming and appearance guidelines to reflect a more gender-neutral attitude for the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN), meaning male personnel can wear makeup and nail polish if they wish to do so.

Newshub received information from a Navy insider last week that the RNZN will implement a more inclusive set of appearance and grooming regulations.

Chief of Navy Rear Admiral David Proctor confirmed the changes in a statement to Newshub on Friday. 

"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 updates are to reflect that the RNZN make no distinction between male and female members in terms of their personal grooming and appearance.

"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.

The updated regulations mean 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."

Newshub.

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