Remember Snoop Dogg’s 2014 manicure and nail art session that made headlines? In recent years, men wearing nail polish have filtered down into the mainstream, going some way in readdressing and rewriting archaic gender norms in relation to dress. From celebrities like Harry Styles to Marc Jacobs, to an array of Gen-Z men, you would think that men and nail polish wouldn’t be news in 2021.
However, people are still interested, and still adopting the style. Chanel got in early, releasing their own line of male-specific nail polish in 2020, whilst Machine Gun Kelly is also set to release his own line later this year. With the resurgence of pop-rock and its aesthetic filtering through into the fashion industry, this too is not that surprising.
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However, outside of the world of celebrity, men and male-presenting people are still facing obstacles when choosing to accessorise by nail polish. Last year, a 17 year old student in Texas was suspended for wearing nail polish to school. This sparked mass outrage on social media, resulting in the ruling being overturned and once more indicating the power potential in taking real life issues online.
Trends evolve, and since this shift into the mainstream, men wearing acrylics are starting to showcase their fresh sets. Seldom seen outside of the occasional photoshopped or Family Guy meme, this growing trend has largely manifested on TikTok, with the hashtag #boyswithacrylics enjoying over 120k views on the short form video platform.
As with anything on TikTok, there are lovers and haters of the fast-becoming trend. Whilst the creators sharing them are often working to normalise men in acrylics, or just to look fly, comment sections are inevitably permeated with criticism, with their ignorance or indifference feeding back into archaic notions of gender and sexuality.
Some men who wear acrylics are championing strength and empowerment by choosing to adopt the trend, citing inspiration from powerful women in media and celebrity culture. Many use it as a direct jab at the patriarchal structures currently in place, subverting them to use traditionally stylish and effeminate aesthetics as a source of influence and power.
Others aren’t trying to make a statement, and just love the aesthetic, wanting to tap into trends that shouldn’t be perceived as connected to gender or sexuality. With the possibilities for nail art being seemingly endless, what are you waiting for? Check out some #nailspo online.