Why Stigmas Against Men Who Wear Nail Polish Shouldn't Exist
Posted on December 11 2020
Throughout history, society has attached unfair stigmas against men who wear nail polish. People often assume that just because a man wears nail polish, he's either gay or transgender. Gender and sexuality should not be based on someone's personal aesthetic. Your appearance is unique to you. It's your way of expressing and presenting yourself to the world.
Up until recently, makeup and nail polish were basically taboos connected to men. However, with influencers like Manny Gutierrez and James Charles getting makeup endorsement deals, beauty brands are becoming more inclusive. However, something you still don't see as often...men who wear nail polish. Influencer Joey Graceffa is helping to change that. Allure spoke with Graceffa, who recently launched his own line of lacquer called Crystal Polish. "I think me wearing nail polish in general, has inspired a lot of other boys to wear it," he says. "Now that I have attached it to my brand and I have my own nail polish, boys [are starting to realize], 'Oh, not only does Joey wear nail polish, but he also creates his own line of it. He's real invested in this nail polish stuff, so I guess it's not taboo anymore if there's a male creating a nail polish line."
"I think me wearing nail polish in general, has inspired a lot of other boys to wear it."
- Joey Graceffa
Now, for some reason, if you're a male rockstar or a high profile musician, it's okay to wear nail polish. It's "normal". The same goes for male celebrities that wear nail polish. A majority of them are singers: Seal, Harry Styles, David Bowie, to name a few. K-Pop has been making waves in the U.S. Recently, a member of K-pop group EXO named Sehun appeared on the cover of the fall issue of China's SuperElle with graphic nail art. Celebrities like Zac Efron and Chris Hemsworth painted their nails to support the Polished Man campaign, which aims to raise awareness for victims of childhood abuse.
However, there are men out there like Graceffa who wear nail polish on a regular basis. Travis McElroy, co-host of several podcasts, including My Brother, My Brother and Me and Shmanners, finds the act of painting his nails a form of self-care. "It becomes a very meditative moment where it's like I'm doing something because I want to for myself," he told Allure. "If I'm preparing for an event or I just want to spend some time for myself, it's a very kind of personal touch that I can give myself. It's like hey I care about myself enough to do this for myself."
"If I'm preparing for an event or I just want to spend some time for myself, it's a very kind of personal touch that I can give myself. It's like hey I care about myself enough to do this for myself."
- Travis McElroy
These men are not alone. There's a whole online community via Reddit called "Male Polish," where men from all over the world post pictures of their manicured hands. Some even share their first time wearing nail polish. Others share their favorite color of the moment. One person shared his worries about buying nail polish at the store himself. This community is a safe space, where people can remain anonymous if they wish, and everyone's supportive of the idea.
Instagram is also becoming a platform for men who wear nail polish. We were recently tagged by Bryant (@cornbread_booty), who knows how to rock nail polish.
Mike (@catlovingdartthrower) also posts #nailfies and recently tagged us in this this photo. Essie's Wile Nude looks great on him!
Although we may have a long way to go in terms of "normalizing" men and nail polish, brands are taking steps in the right direction! OPI recently launched their "Men Who Mani-Up" campaign, aimed to break gender stereotypes. The men featured in their campaign video all expressed that it would be uncomfortable at first, but once they did it, they felt this sense of liberation.
So what is the takeaway from all of this? Wearing nail polish does not make anyone more or less masculine or feminine. Ryan Morgan, co-founder of the hair dye brand Arctic Fox, told Allure, "it is what it is. You're definitely no less masculine or no more with nail polish or makeup on. That comes from within and who you are and how you are in the world more than what you put on."