New Zealand to allow male navy soldiers to wear false eyelashes under gender-neutral guidelines

Giovanni Torre
Members of the Royal New Zealand Navy line up at a ceremony - Getty Images AsiaPac

The New Zealand Defence Force is to allow male navy recruits to wear fake eyelashes and nail polish under new gender neutral grooming rules. 

The Royal New Zealand Navy will soon be applying a uniform set of appearance guidelines that mean male personnel will be permitted to wear make-up if they wish, its chief confirmed to local news outlet NewsHub on Frirday. 

“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 Chief of Navy Rear Admiral David 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.”

Rear Admiral Proctor said the Navy’s grooming standards had always been based on neatness, cleanliness, safety and military image and would continue to be.

The existing regulations permit female Navy personnel to wear discreet makeup, clear or pale nail varnish when in uniform, inconspicuous false eyelashes and one pair of “natural coloured” stud or sleeper earrings. As of November 1, all Navy personnel may do the same, if they wish to do so.

Last month, it was reported that British Army chiefs were considering a similar rule-change in their own grooming guidelines.

In June 2016 the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps announced they would be dropping “man” from some of their job titles to make them inclusive and gender neutral.

In September 2018 it was announced that the British Army fitness test would be modified after three years of scientific research produced a gender and age-neutral test, replacing the old focus on aerobic fitness with new tests demanding a greater mix of stamina, muscular endurance and strength.

The New Zealand navy's rules will continue to ban body piercings, “exaggerated hairstyles” such as mohawks and particular hair accessories.

“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,” said Rear Admiral Proctor in his statement to NewsHub.