You’d suppose that nail polish on males wouldn’t be a lot of a narrative in 2021. Because of Lil Nas X, Troye Sivan and Marc Jacobs, in addition to early-adopter heterosexuals like Dangerous Bunny, A$AP Rocky, and Publish Malone, males with their nails completed ought to be simply one other type of accessorising. With different followers together with Brad Pitt and Keanu Reeves, Chanel capitalised early and launched its personal line of male nail polish final yr. Machine Gun Kelly can be dropping his personal later this yr.
Thus far so passé — besides there are nonetheless many locations on the planet that must catch up. This was highlighted final yr when 17-year-old Texan scholar Trevor Wilkinson was suspended for carrying nail polish to high school. The ruling was later overturned, however the outrage on social media was gentle years forward of the discourse round Snoop Dogg’s french manicure in 2014.
Reading: Guys with acrylic nails
Whereas nail polish on males (and male-presenting individuals) may need shifted into the mainstream, carrying acrylics continues to be stigmatised and so much much less widespread. No, these memes of Chris Evans with photoshopped nails don’t rely.
“I was hesitant at first to get them but once I did I honestly fell in love,” shares mannequin and acrylic-wearer Humza Syed, who first experimented with a Christmas-themed set final yr. Since then, he’s remained manicured, matching the colors to his dyed hair or going all out with clashing vibrant designs. “I would say they complete my aesthetic. It’s as if it was meant to be for me to wear them. So whenever I dress up, the nails seem perfect with anything I wear in my head,” he provides.
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Kidd Snooze, a musician and fellow acrylic wearer agrees. “My favourite part about wearing my nails is how they look, they’re very aesthetically pleasing,” he says. “I wanted to try them because I am genuinely a huge fan of nail art and you can do so many different things with acrylics. I never cared about the perceived ‘gender norms’ of them.”
Humza and Kidd Snooze are a part of a small however rising group of male acrylic aficionados, and also you’ll discover extra identical to them scrolling on TikTok — the hashtag #boyswithacrylics sits at slightly below 100k views. However, with the talons sadly comes individuals’s preconceived notions of what sort of particular person ought to (and shouldn’t) be carrying them. The movies typically include captions calling for the normalisation of males and male-presenting individuals in addition to inevitable trolls within the feedback who suppose carrying them is negatively female.
In reality it’s fairly the alternative. Mannequin, actor, and TikToker Mason Hooper says it’s highly effective girls — from Catwoman and American Horror Story: Lodge’s The Countess — who impressed him to first strive acrylics. “I always thought the aesthetic of sharp almond style nails was so badass,” he says. “All of these femme fatales use fingertips as fashionable facilitators of fury, and I think that is so cool.” It’s a direct jab at patriarchal structure and uses traditionally stylish and effeminate aesthetics as a source of influence and power.”
Whereas it might sound apparent to most, it bears repeating that nails aren’t related to gender or sexuality and could be worn by anyone — one thing that’s sadly misplaced on naysayers. “People think that if you wear acrylic nails, you’re automatically gay or not straight. Most people who see me with nails assume I’m LGTBQ+ and when I tell them I am not, they are always astonished,” says Humza. “It’s annoying because we should be able to express ourselves the way we want without misconceptions hanging over our heads. I do them because I simply love getting my nails done and love how it looks on me.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Kidd Snooze, who can be heterosexual, however consistently requested if he’s homosexual or trans merely due to his nails. “It’s a huge misconception that people think men wearing acrylic nails are gay,” he says. “People also think we do it to impress people or because we want attention which is not the case either. We wear nails because we like them!”
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When you would possibly anticipate the LGBTQ+ group to be considerably much less judgemental, Mason suggests this isn’t the case. “As a sexually fluid queer person, my nails can be a turn off for straight women, but more shockingly I have found this similar mindset in men within the queer community,” he says. “Receiving a ‘painted nails are too gay’ message on Grindr is one of the more quizzical oxymorons of life, but those kind of misconceptions are bred through internalised homophobia and a lack of education and experience.”
It’s not all dangerous information although, as issues are slowly shifting in the best course, in line with nail artist Danny Tavarez. “Queer people have always took part in nails as a form of self expression but now that more cishet men are catching up, it’s becoming more socially acceptable,” he explains. “I’ve had a few conversations with men who were scared and their fear always stems from how they’ll be perceived by others — the root of it all really is toxic masculinity. At the end of the day nails are just a form of self expression like any other art form.”
Regardless of the trolls and their dated viewpoint, all of the acrylic wearers agree that experimenting with magnificence has taught them so much about themselves. “I learned that I’m just a regular boy who dresses up,” Humza says. “I want to inspire other people out there who struggle dressing up the way they want — whether it’s because of friends, family, or even themselves — to go out and be expressive.”
Mason is equally upbeat, and thanks Gen Z and TikTok for transferring vogue and wonder developments away from dated gender norms. “Gender norms are merely playthings now,” he says. “It’s been a trend for male-presenting people on TikTok to wear skirts and maid outfits. E-boys and their make-up looks go viral. The blurring of gender lines is no longer a shock value tactic in mainstream media but a valid and appreciated form of expression.”
So, what are you ready for? In case you’re keen on experimenting your self, Danny assures that it’ll be price it. “I understand how big of a decision it is to make and how nerve-racking it can be, but I can’t emphasise enough the confidence that comes with a fresh set of nails,” he concludes. “Owning who you are and taking up space is your right!”
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