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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

My Nail Polish Makes Me Feel Powerful

I catch a glimpse of my freshly painted nails in the glass. They pop out from my jagged reflection, glistening with all their chromatic power.

I’m tidying my clothes, and there they are again, neat and fierce, perfectly complementing my shoes.

I’m typing on my computer and my colored nails give the action a sharp deftness, a whimsical spin. A purpose.

Nail painting is a multimillion dollar industry, whether through the indulgence of a spa treatment at a salon or the messy satisfaction of doing them yourself as you and your girl friends watch TV.

Cynics might say that it’s narcissistic, vapid, or even dangerous. And yet nail polish provides not only a bonding experience and a popular self-care ritual, but an outlet for female empowerment. It’s like, look at these colorful weapons I have on my .

After all, it’s ostensibly pointless to have painted nails. It takes extra time and care to have them, yet at the same time, it’s incredibly easy. It’s a method of self-expression that has immediate, visible effects. To take the extra time for something pointless implies that there’s an unspoken power we can tap. While natural, unpainted nails look nice, painted nails represent a kind of “fuck you” response to the critics. A celebration of our bodies’ beauty. An affimation of our own identity.

Painted nails also draw attention to all the things our hands can do: Type out killer presentations or emails or Medium posts. Make a garden or a gourmet meal. Hold our children or pets. Stroke our lovers. Drive our cars. Run our fingers through our badass hair.

Our hands are everything. Why wouldn’t we want to show them off?

Written by

Writer by day, circus artist by night. I write about art, media, culture, health, science, and where they all meet. Join my list:

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