Stand-up comedian Varun Grover wears nail paint – by smashing stereotypes, and explaining how it’s okay for men to wear nail paint, he has become the hero we need right now!
If I ask you how many of you have done things like dressing up in a certain manner or behaving in a certain manner, just because the society has conditioned you to do so, then I can guarantee that I will get many answering Yes to this question.
Women are always expected to act in a certain way considered ‘feminine, and at the same time men too are expected to act in a certain way considered ‘masculine’. If they don’t oblige, then these women are termed ‘mardana’ and men are laughed at as “ladki kahin ka!”
This conditioning is so deeply rooted in our society that here a child is not a child. It’s always either a ‘ladka’ or a ‘ladki’, and strictly expected to toe the gender line of social approval.
Now to smash this conditioning, recently comedian Varun Grover shared a picture of him and his cat on his Instagram story.
While several of his followers noticed that Grover was wearing nail paint and even complimented him, many men questioned his choices.
In response to those comments, he posted a series of Instagram stories. Now, these stories are the reason why we are calling him our hero. Grover explained things that make us realize that nail paint, or any make-up for that matter, should be gender-neutral.
“So going by the responses, we need to talk about nail paint. There have been lots of lovely comments and encouragement, mostly from women. And a small but significant number of (mostly) men in disbelief. And my reply to why is quite simple.”
“Nail paint makes my hands look beautiful and colourful with a minimum of effort. Am surprised why more people don’t wear it. Bonus: You get to smell the nail paint remover every ten days -if you are into that kinda thing. And am coming from the same world of conditioning as everyone here but now when I think about it. It feels bizarre that a simple act of putting colour on your nails can be considered so gendered and scandalous. I have had a couple of really ugly homophobic responses too about it but not sharing them here.” (sic)
He also added, “Most people want to know why nail paint, which tells me this is one of the final frontiers of masculinity. Long hair, ear-studs, sensitivity have all been accepted by men as unisex but nail-paint is still crossing a line.”
We cannot neglect the fact that today, whatever outlook we bear towards life, our beliefs, relationships, choices are all due to the influence of social conditioning since childhood. As adults, all the fears we encounter are based on social acceptance. To a large extent, it leaves us powerless.
Our actions and behaviours are driven by ‘Log kya kahenge’. It decides our choice of clothes, occupation, company… it even decides the way men and women should sit.
It’s high time now that we should stop associating things with gender. While traditionally, makeup is associated with women, several men have broken gendered laws to embrace it. After all, we’re in 2020 and nothing, from clothes and shoes to makeup and hair should be gendered.
We are the ones who nurture this conditioning and we are the ones who can break it. So next time you feel like wearing makeup, learn dancing or cooking, sit with your legs wide open, shave your head or have long hair, wear jewellery or want to drive bikes and the ‘Log’ don’t consider it right for you because of your gender, then stop right there and don’t give a damn to their opinion. It’s about time now that we realise gender is a social construct, and start to undo the years of conditioning.
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I read, I write, I dream and search for the silver lining in my life.
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