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HOT TAKE: #MalePolish Is Just Patriarchy

Men just can’t let women have anything, can they? Penis privilege is a really terrible thing.

The latest example of this: #MalePolish, a growing trend of men flaunting their painted nails. This is cute! It’s even inspired a little coverage from Mic.

The #malepolish hashtag first gained popularity a few months back after designer Marc Jacobs started using the hashtag in tagged pictures of himself.

It started off as a series that Jacobs called “Mani Mondays,” where he’d show off his latest manicure, which was usually done by nail artist Jin Soon Choi.

“I think it’s a way for any man to put the finishing touch to his look, and I am pleased to see them embracing this movement,” Choi told W magazine.

This is fabulous, no? I’ve been painting my nails for a few months to curb my lifelong struggle with nail biting…and it works! It’s great.

However, I have never and will never call it “male polish.” Why? Because that is bullshit and sexist and a means by which to take something from women, a move based in gender appropriation, an attempt to remove any notions of the female from the act. Yes, this trend is likely practiced by many gay men but, as we know, the gay community has a history of not standing up for women. This is all a bit problematic, the gender equivalent to the Kardashians appropriating black culture.

I love, love, love men wearing nail polish and do think that it ultimately is a good thing. What I don’t love, love, love is men stealing something from women, refashioning an act as their own without a respect to the history that came before it. And, yes, that means digging into the annals of history to find men wearing nail polish as a way to rewrite history, to justify the act, to—Again.—remove women from being the champion of this activity.

Even gender bending can be dominated by masculinity. That’s patriarchy at its finest.

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