Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nail Polish Innuendos and Feminism

I'm so sorry I've been absent for so long. I've had a tough last few weeks, dealing with final papers and a grade that I feel is unjust. :-/ Long story short, I am SO done with school right now - though I have one semester left. This summer will be time for me to go to work in the mornings, hang out at the apartment pool, read, and work on my Master's thesis. I wish I could feel relaxed, but instead I feel extra stressed. I still haven't found a panel for my Master's thesis defense (no one in my department really fits my interests) and I'm struggling with figuring out my future.

But on to nail polish. PoP has received some emails requesting a feminist perspective of cosmetics companies such as Orgasm Cosmetics and Naughty Nailz. I'm sorry to tell you that if you were expecting me to condemn these brands as degrading and offensive to women, you've got the wrong feminist. I am also not against all pornography or all sex work, for example. I happen to think that these issues are more complex than they seem or are portrayed to be. Also, polish names such as Orgasm Cosmetics's "Dripping Wet" may be kind of crass, but it's not necessarily degrading to women. Unless there are any nail polish names that refer to, for example, non consensual sex or women's (or men's) bodies in negative ways, then I don't have a problem with sexual nail polish names. It may be kind of uncomfortable when someone like your boss or mom asks you what nail polish you're wearing, but you can always do what I do and say, "Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot the name!" Most people can't even remember the brand of their nail polish, so you're fine. :)

I also tend to enjoy when sexuality is acknowledged, even in such a simple format as these nail polish and cosmetics names. In my opinion, sex should not be a quiet secret that is unable to be discussed in schools or among families or friends. But that's another story...

I do not actually own any products from either of these websites so I cannot vouch for these particular brands. I realize that not everyone will agree with me and some people may be offended. Even so, I do not mean to degrade anyone who disagrees. Everyone is welcome to their own opinions.

On to the pictures....

This is a franken originally created by janimal425 on MUA. The recipe is as follows:

30% OPI Absolutely Alice
30% ChG Dorothy Who?
40% ChG Emerald Sparkle

This is 3 coats

This is 3 coats of OPI Who the Shrek are You? with 1 coat of Color Club Tru Passion gradiated on top using Orly Smudge Fixer.

This is a bad pic and I apologize. I could not capture this one! It's 2 coats of OPI Mon-sooner or Later with 1 coat of OPI Dress to Empress on top.

Thanks for reading!

Like this? Click below to let us know!


Linnie said...

Wow, the first one is gorgeous!!!!
Love it :D

jaljen said...

I think feminists should be more worried about equal pay, equal opportunities and equal treatment than the branding of cosmetics. Or spending their time striving to improve the lives of women in developing countries. Getting irate about nail polish names is a waste of energy which could be more profitably directed elsewhere.
I like the first franken: Who's Absolutely Sparkling?

Anonymous said...

Been a longtime lurker on your blog but finally had to comment about this.

Such a relevant issue you tackled here, IMO. I commend you for putting this forth. There are much much BIGGER issues at hand in the world today - women being sold off by their own parents at a young age, women not being given opportunities at education and career opportunities, women being abused by their husbands and families. To put spotlight on a mere play on words and a marketing ploy that doesn't even directly mention women, IMO, trivializes all these issues altogether.

I would agree with jaljen here - more energies, effort, and attention must be directed to these BIGGER, much more significant issues that would really IMPACT women all over the world.

Female empowerment cannot be displayed in a mere marketing ploy like naming polish names, either. It's actually shedding light to causes that matter and contributing directly to these global issues is what actually counts.

Which gives me an idea all of a sudden - I think there should be a nail polish collection that is named after pressing global concerns like women's issues! It's just a fun way of actually making the world aware of what's going on, and prompting us to think about how we could do our own part.

Momo Berry said...

I was one of the folks who e-mailed and I'm so happy you decided to write about nail polish + feminism! I'd been wondering about your opinions on these things since very few nail bloggers (that I know of) go into this territory.

I agree with you when you say that some names may be kind of crass, but not degrading or worth condemning. I have seen some women offended by these brands or color names, while others embrace them. I personally could not see myself telling anyone that the color on my nails was named "Jizz", but there are many women who get a kick out of those names and more power to 'em! Always great to see someone rocking things like that, even though they might be controversial.

I have an itchy trigger finger when it comes to phrases like "focus on the BIGGER ISSUES" though because I often get that in response to people finding out I consider myself a feminist/womanist/what-have-you, but I do understand that the commenters here are good natured and make up the big happy PoP family (can you have a nail polish family? lmao).

Again, thanks for addressing this! And fab swatches, as usual. This is what I love about PoP, it's not all spam all the time - you get some thought provoking discussion going, too. :)

daydream222 said...

Thanks for the responses, everyone!

Momo Berry, I agree with you - there are both "big" and "small" issues and I'm not saying that we should ignore salacious nail polish names just because there are "bigger" things going on in the world. Small issues can make huge impacts too. The point is that even the "big" issues like porn or sex work are more complex than just condemning them as "bad." If a nail polish name came out that suggested rape is a good idea, I would go nuts, even if it is "just" a nail polish!

jbrobeck said...

wow, i really enjoyed reading this. i think you hit the nail on the head! thanks for speaking your mind!

Alison said...

I am totally with you on the feminist issue (or non-issue) surrounding names of polishes that are sexually explicit or of innuendo. As you say they are not degrading either gender in any way and to me feminism is about being able to have a choice, we can choose to be the kind of women we want to be, we can choose to buy whatever cosmetics we like. That's what women many generations ago fought for our right to have an opinion and our right to choose aand think for ourselves. Ok rant over!

I understand what you are going through with you Masters, I've just finished mine and I too had a tutor who's field was in no way related to my thesis topic. It was tough going but I managed it in the end, I am sure all will go well with yours too. Good luck with it!

Sandi said...

Why should any woman be offended by the term orgasm being used as a company name? Men have them too and if there are truly people out there that somehow think having an orgasm is degrading, they've got way bigger problems than company/polish names.

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