Let’s take back nail polish and eye shadow! There’s such a strong societal association between makeup and femininity, girly girls, femmes — a certain kind of woman. Why should that be? I say, people of all kinds and genders should be able to wear makeup and nail polish without shame.
I love brightly colored nail polishes and eye shadows. I think it’s so much fun. Nail polishes come in every color under the sun (and they have such fun names), and I love how intense and dramatic eye shadow can be in shades of green and blue and purple. Unfortunately, I rarely indulge in either – it’s such a girly, femmey thing, and I’m just really not. Or rather, I know that if I wear it, people will read me as girly and feminine, and that’s really not what I’m going for. The thing is, I know intellectually that it’s just a product. It’s just a thing. It doesn’t inherently mean anything. Wearing nail polish wouldn’t make me femme; it won’t make me anything (except possessing of potentially fabulously colored nails).
I have this memory from high school – my very first time in the costume room (I was in theatre), a friend was getting his nails painted teal. Last week, I was admiring the glossy, black nail polish of a guy I’d just met and discussing the perks of a “mani/pedi” (mainly how lovely it feels with all of the scrubs and water and whatnot). Some of the people with whom I was hanging out also had an impromptu makeup application session in which a bunch of non-woman-identified people got their makeup done, complete with really bright blue eyeshadow.
All of the people I’ve mentioned have such courage. Society doesn’t usually treat people kindly when they transgress gender norms. But why should that be? And judging people on something as simple as makeup or nail polish? It doesn’t make any sense! Nail polish shouldn’t impinge upon someone’s masculinity (“‘Real’ men don’t wear that”) or assign someone femininity. It shouldn’t cause people to make assumptions about others or question their sexuality (“He’s got to be gay”).
Nail polish should be fun! Eye shadow should be fun! There’s such opportunity for wild colors and high drama. It should be for everyone who wants it! Totally not fair for it to only be societally acceptable only for women. Totally not fair that it should mark someone as a certain kind of woman or man.We should be able to wear makeup and nail polish without being judged, and it shouldn’t mark us as anything. Let’s take back those colors!