Baroness Susan Greenfield: We agonise too much over looks

Related Topics

It is a complete nonsense to suggest that only airheads can look attractive and that brainy girls are condemned to a life of dowdiness.

Anyone who thinks like that, I suspect, must feel very threatened by intelligent women who also happen to be good-looking. And most of those people must surely be male. Do women say you can't have good looks and brains? I wouldn't think so, not these days, not the vast majority.

Jill Berry is right that you can have fun dressing up without it being a reflection on your intellectual prowess. Serious-minded people are the same as everyone else when it comes to trying on clothes and just because you enjoy it doesn't mean that's all you care about. You don't want to get too po-faced.

My view is that you usually dress to feel attractive in yourself, to feel comfortable and happy about yourself. It's not so much how other people see you. The French have a lovely phrase for it – happy in your skin. The issue for me is whether you feel happy.

As a woman you sometimes feel comfortable in the outfit you have chosen for the day and sometimes you don't. It's how the fabric feels on your skin, how it moves when you walk. If you put on a well-made dress, it feels right. If a woman wants to wear a boiler suit or Chanel, either is fine. It's up to her. Anyway, my view is that we agonise too much about our appearances.

There are, of course, times when appearance has to take a back seat. It's not that you aren't beautiful, it's that on these occasions you are oblivious to everything but your work. You are so wrapped up in it that making sure your handbag matches your shoes is given a much lower priority than usual. I remember a colleague of mine, who shall remain nameless, was so anxious to continue with her experiments that she came into the lab still wearing her pyjama top. She had forgotten to change out of it and didn't notice at all until later in the day.

One thing that throws me is when I'm taking part in a serious interview and the journalist asks me where I got my shoes from. I do find that a little bit strange – it has nothing to do with the science we were talking about. What's its relevance? I can't imagine a male colleague taking part in a similar interview would be asked where he got his shoes or his tie.

Baroness Susan Greenfield is a director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next

General Election 2015: The SNP and an SMC (Salmond-Murdoch Conspiracy)

Matthew Norman
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station  

General Election 2015: Despite all the seeming cynicism, our political system works

Ian Birrell
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living