Male celebrity nail polish lines are having a moment – why?

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Nail polish has a moment. Specifically, nail polish created by famous guys.

Tyler, The Creator just launched a nail polish trio under his GOLF le FLEUR * imprint (which, it should be noted, also recently perfume introduced).

Featured in “Geneva Blue,” “Georgia Peach” and “Glitter,” the glazes made their debut at the rapper’s pop-up in Malibu, a pastel-colored utopia that saw JAY-Z, Kanye West and Andre 3000 s’ Stop.

Tyler’s launch closely follows the announcement of Machine Gun Kelly’s UN / DN LAQR nail polish lines and Harry Styles’ Pleasing.

The fact that three celebrities who identify with men have launched beauty brands in the past month is a testament to the gradual dissolution of the gender binaries that the beauty industry and society in general have long operated on.

And, while I’m fully in favor of revamping outdated notions of the genre, I’m not sure what to think of the hyperbolic praise lavished on celebrities like Tyler, MGK, and Styles whenever they do as much as dabble in everything. which is traditionally referred to as “feminine.”

Does a man wear a dress or eyeliner, or a pink suit really newsworthy?

Make no mistake, it’s great for men to strike up conversations about beauty and personal care, as well as wearing whatever they want. After all, it doesn’t make much sense that items like nail polish or skirts have a gendered meaning.

But Billy Porter spoke of the nuance of these celebrities who meddle in practices rooted in queer culture.

In an interview with the Sunday opening hours, Porter spoke to Styles recent Vogue cover, a photograph that showed the former One Direction star wearing a Gucci dress.

“He does it just because it’s the right thing to do,” Porter said of the singer’s outfit. “It’s politics for me. It’s my life. I’ve had to fight my whole life to get to where I could wear a dress to the Oscars.”

While Porter’s claim that Styles only wears dresses for the brownie points is subjective, an article on the debacle by Jireh Deng of NPR makes an appropriate point.

Porter is fair to criticize Styles’ position as a straightforward white man who has not publicly experienced the isolation and shame of the AIDS crisis, or faces career threats like Porter’s experiences. as a black gay man in the theater industry, ”writes Deng.

“Styles, with his largely apolitical stance and gentle online presence, presents a more acceptable symbol of rejection of gender conformity for Vogue than other openly LGBT individuals who are more vocal and politically invested … [he] didn’t have to risk anything by pursuing his artistic expression, compared to LGBT artists of color. “

Deng adds that gender-queer fashion – and, I would say, gender-queer beauty – was born out of a struggle to stay visible in the face of LGBTQ erasure.

A similar argument can be applied to the Machine Gun Kelly project, which follows the rapper’s experimentation with nail art and even long and ornate acrylics, a style that was popularized by black women and eventually gentrified by celebrities, including the Kardashians.

And while speculation about Tyler’s sexuality has long been a topic of discussion in the press, it’s important to remember that he used to throw a lot of homophobic and misogynist rhetoric in his music and on social networks.

None of this is to say that men wearing nail polish are bad, or that male celebrities. should not launch beauty lines. Nor is it a call to “cancel” in quotes and anyone.

Instead, it’s an invitation to think deeper about what, exactly, Styles, MGK, and Tyler are cashing in on.

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