(70 Posts)

I remember when false nails and nail art first came in, pretty much. At the end of the 90s I used to have acrylic nails with airbrush art on. I liked them, they were decorative and lots of fun to look at. I had a magnificent 'Vegas' set once with artwork of dice, playing cards, cocktail glasses etc on them.

But they were a bit, well, disabling. You can't pick your nose very easily, and it's harder to wipe when you've been to the loo. Picking up small things like coins or pins or earring backs is difficult, so is typing and texting. And once you've got the things, you have to commit to regular upkeep or they get uncomfortable. It's not like they are a blatantly sexual thing (and yes, they can make some sexual acts a bit more complicated as well) but does anyone else feel just a tiny bit uncomfortable about the vast number of nail bars around now, given that artificial nails do actually make your life a bit more difficult?

StickEmUpPunk Sun 23-Jun-13 22:42:24

I'm totally on the same page on this one. Lots of inherently feminine grooming/dress are debilitating, if that's the right word.
High heels, tight short clothing etc.
All designed to make life difficult, IMHO.

All the while men have clothing with pockets, so no handbags, flat shoes etc.

I can't help but think there is a blatant reason.
Most people would think it's made up and I'm making something out of nothing.

It's so mainstream, all of it.

YoniTime Sun 23-Jun-13 23:15:31

Agree. I had long, false nails when I was very young and stupid but very quickly realized how disabling they were. I don't understand why nail art is so popular now, but I have seen it advertised as an affordable way to be feminine, groomed and artistic. It's cheaper than buying a new handbag...but the cost is also that you can't use your hands in a normal way.

YoniTime Sun 23-Jun-13 23:18:24

And isn't ironic that young women are encouraged to be artistic via nail art, but actual artists has to actually use their hands to create artworks. False nails gets in the way for that.

AnyFucker Sun 23-Jun-13 23:21:32

My mum insists on having very long acrylic nails and pays a fortune for the privilege of being virtually disabled because of them

The also look bloody horrible

It is a bit odd that there are now a dozen nail art bars on every high street when ten years ago it was quite a rare thing to do. I am quite prepared to hear (because I genuinely don't know) that modern techniques mean that actually you can use your hands just fine with decorated nails, same as having a tattoo or dying your hair is visually fun but doesn't affect your life.
Because decorated nails ie painting your own nails funny colours or in stripes and sticking little bits of glitter on them is fun, self-expressive etc and no one ever got hurt or frustratd because they chipped their nail varnish - but false nails, gel/acrylic etc can really hurt if you bent them back.

thequeenmary Sun 23-Jun-13 23:25:59

I can't understand how people live day-to-day with long acrylic nails. I need to type, use my smartphone etc. - not exactly burdensome physical work but if my nails get slightly too long it is really hard! I just chop them off and file them into shape when they get to this point. I still like to have my nails painted though, but I do it myself rather than go to a nail bar.

WhentheRed Sun 23-Jun-13 23:26:22

YY to all.

I was briefly a Brownie as a child. My Brown Owl was obsessed with short, clean, unvarnished nails. We had an inspection every week and our nails were not to be longer than our fingers. On the few occasions where I have had painted nails for weddings, I have felt encumbered. I could not imagine trying to type or do anything useful with extended nails.

And don't get me started on hair extensions.

Agree. I have found recently that it feels like natural nails are somehow not enough, even though they are perfectly neat and clean. Even nail varnish alone wrecks the nails if they are constantly redone; acrylics and shellac etc are even worse. Definitely the expected grooming levels have increased.

I do like (sometimes) nail varnish just in terms of it being a fun, decorative thing to do, same as choosing to wear something that's a bright colour or has an interesting pattern - and my DS likes to have his nails painted sometimes as well.

WhenTheRed: hair extensions? I don't know very much about them; I used to have a handful of clip-on ones that I wore to parties, but are they painful/disabling/a nuisance as well?

WhentheRed Mon 24-Jun-13 00:01:47

solidgoldbrass, nail varnish can be quite pretty. I find it encumbering because I try to avoid all activities that may cause the varnish to chip.

My hair extensions bugbear really is the subject of a whole thread on its own and I am conscious of derailing. In short form, I think long hair as a whole can be a little problematic because it can be grabbed by an assailant. My hair extensions discomfort comes from wearing the hair of impoverished women. I know its a cliche, but the litany of humiliation of Fantine in Les Miserables included the horror of having to sell her hair.

Startail Mon 24-Jun-13 00:17:37

Heels, nail vanish and impractical clothes all been seen as essential for a professional woman, While DH just chucks on a clean shirt makes me angry

So not only does a WOHM have to find time to juggle housework, childcare and work. She also has to find the time and money to attend to pointless grooming and clothes buying.

Oh and change nappies, cook, wash-up, bath babies etc without damaging said nails and find time to shave her legs and go to the hair dresses.

Something has gone wrong with feminism since I was a teen.

rosabud Mon 24-Jun-13 00:58:15

I can't comment on nails because I have always been a hopless nail biter but this statement

Something has gone wrong with feminism since I was a teen.

really resonates with me. Despite some things going wrong for women since I was a teen, on the whole, freedom to work and choose when/if to have children, as well as access to higher earning careers has vastly improved (not saying it is perfect now, but it has improved considerably). So you would think, as more women take on "serious" roles outside the home, their less "serious" side (ie their appearances) would become less important. But grooming and appearance is the thing that has actually got worse and more restrictive for women. I don't understand it.

WhentheRed Mon 24-Jun-13 01:09:25

One word: backlash.

It's a human thing (even some animals seem to have some interest in it) to want to decorate ourselves and our territory as well. In terms of stuff that hurts when it's being done or costs a lot, men do some of that too, and it's not a bad thing to want to mark or decorate or express yourself.... it's just that so much of the stuff that is culturally appropriate for women to do always seems to be not just time-consuming and money-consuming but actually physically inhibiting...

garlicnutty Mon 24-Jun-13 01:47:18

I want to think it's just a fad, kinda thing. Young women and men are much more demanding of themselves (generically) in terms of honed, toned and polished detail.

I do like that women can go to work without makeup or heels, and still be respected (or disrespected, not based on their cosmetics.) This is a big improvement over my career-carving epoch. I don't think women are as constrained by rigid presentation requirements as they were in my day; I'm hoping the pointy nails, scratchy extensions, orange tan, etc, etc, are optional.

SugarandSpice126 Mon 24-Jun-13 01:49:07

I totally get this, it's ridiculous. And there are so many examples. There was one anecdote (no idea where I read it) about a woman on stage receiving her PhD. As she was walking back down the stairs off the stage, she had to be helped down due to her wobbly high heels. At this immensely important point in her life, a sign of her intelligence and achievement, her heels reduced her to a toddler-like state in which she had to be helped to walk. Yet heels are seen as essential for a woman in so many professional settings in order to be "smart", whilst men can wear flat shoes, no nail extensions, trousers...

sashh Mon 24-Jun-13 03:52:23

You don't have to have long false nails though.

I can't afford them at the moment but if / when I'm back in work I will be having shellac nails.

They don't damage the nail underneath and they start out shorter than my natural short nails.

namechangeguy Mon 24-Jun-13 09:46:10

Isn't this all a bit culturally specific? Long fingernails in men are an old tradition in Eastern/Asian cultures. It is also apparently all the rage amongst young Chinese men - something to do with a sign of prosperity, as it indicates that you aren't a manual or agricultural worker.

I have a teenage daughter who thinks these fancy nails are pretty, so she gets hers done. I have a wife who thinks they are a pain, so she doesn't. If men in my office started getting theirs done, I wouldn't, because I am free to choose. What exactly is the issue here?

Startail Mon 24-Jun-13 09:53:49

rosabud that's it exactly.
I have two DDs and they seem to be under far more pressure from society to conform to a perfect vision of womanhood than we were.

Smart, clean, minimal make up and sensible shoes is what my DSIS has worn to the office for the last 25 years.

Now (at least if you are young) you are expected to have short skirt, high heels, perfect nails, perfect make up and Barbie's figure.

In other words corporate dress for women is designed to make you look 'sexy' rather than business like. I think it's a really retrograde step.

It's even percolating down to our sixth form girls, who's idea of 'smart dress' looks like something I'd have gone to a disco in. How on earth it's supposed to make their male peers and university lectures take them seriously as "people" when they look like "fashion magazine adverts" I don't know?

Startail Mon 24-Jun-13 09:56:21

Actually, our six-forms' dresses are shorter and tighter than anything I've ever owned, because I was a teen before Lycra was invented.

TWinklyLittleStar Mon 24-Jun-13 10:02:23

I don't know if or how it's relevant but as a police officer I wear the same flat boots & practical (ugly) trousers as the men, to do the same job - and it's stipulated that our hair is tied back, makeup is light, and nails be left short and unpainted. No gender divide in the expectations of work.

KRITIQ Mon 24-Jun-13 11:48:22

There is nothing new about the expectation that women will change their appearance to suit fashion trends in a manner that is never expected of men. It's also not new that changes to women's clothing or to their actual bodies generally mean they are constrained from some activities, or even that their health is compromised.

Girls of the more privileged classes in China had their feet broken and bound to form the desirable "lotus shape" until the early 20th century, which meant they were barely able to walk unaided. Until the same period, European and American women wore tightly laced corsets that restricted their breathing and permanently deformed their internal organs (and those who didn't follow this were often described as "loose" sexually as well as clothing wise.)

Women in the past century have endured toxic beauty treatments, constricting clothing and increasingly, pressure to surgically alter their physical form (or diet to attain an ever-changing ideal shape.) There is a racist as well as misogynist layer to this pressure. Black and brown women were encouraged to use toxic "lightening creams," and use painful often harmful hair straightening chemicals and techniques to achieve something closer to an ideal of "white" beauty.

Nail extensions and high heels, like the bound feet and tight corsets of our great grandmothers, are meant to give the impression that a woman is of high enough status that she doesn't have to do things for herself. She doesn't have to work for a living and has others to tend her daily needs (even if that's not the case - it's important to give that impression of flawlessness.)

Even things that don't necessarily impede movement or activities - like make up and eyebrow shaping - still take up alot of time and cost money. Men are not expected to devote very much of their time to their appearance and less of their disposable income is spent on these things. If anything, men who do spend time and money on grooming may be viewed as "not being very masculine." Products and services are marketed to men to show how they will enhance their masculinity as a way of getting over this.

So yes, this is a means of social and economic control over women and girls. They are socially conditioned to believe their bodies, their appearance are inadequate and only with expensive, time consuming, painful and often permanently damaging interventions can they ever hope to be socially acceptable. The message also encourages women and girls to police the behaviour of other women and girls - condemnation can be severe if you "let the side down."

So the companies make more money from goods and services by keeping women and girls in a constant state of paranoia and wider society also benefits because while they are spending their time and money on beatification and unable to undertake many functions that men can because of the impact of these measures on their lives, they stay "in their place."

Startail Mon 24-Jun-13 11:57:41

Brilliant post KRITIQ

I was going to post that nails are a reforcement of the idea that women's earnings aren't important. They are pin money for frivolity.

You have put my point far more completely.

Meglet Mon 24-Jun-13 12:01:03

I assumed people with long nails got used to doing everything with them. I can't get my head around women doing it despite being restricted in what they can do.

Can we add false eyelashes to the list. I see students off to college in them, what a faff sticking those things on every morning.

AnyFucker Mon 24-Jun-13 12:02:23

I would like to ask those women that use these very long and disabling nail extensions why

Do they do it to attract male attention ? Because every man I know a) wouldn't notice nails other than those that are dirty/ragged b) thinks those talon-like things are deeply horrible

So what is it for ? To look good in front of other women ? For themselves ? Why ?

Interesting thread.

flowery Mon 24-Jun-13 12:10:03

I have quite long, gel nails. The only thing I find it a bit more difficult to do is pick up small things from the floor. I can live with that. I don't think they are 'disabling'.

Reason I get them done? Same reason as I get my hair highlighted. Because I think it looks nice.

garlicnutty Mon 24-Jun-13 15:06:29

In 1972, I took evening classes in both typing and dressmaking. For both courses, very long nails were banned - girls who wouldn't cut theirs were chucked off the course. This was, obviously, because long nails interfere with dexterity. There were no 'extensions' in those days; women just grew them (though we did have stick-on nails.)

While I'm fascinated by the whole business of fashion as sociology - both Kritiq and NCG have touched on this in their posts - I think we need to be cautious of elevating "Young people today, what do they look like?" to the level of gender politics. The issues are real, but for me the details of nail, heel and skirt length are incidental.

garlicnutty Mon 24-Jun-13 15:11:06

AnyFucker - I don't use extensions, but my nails grow easily. I don't take care of them so they're usually less than finger-end length. Now and again, though, I do nurture them and file them to a classic, long, almond shape. I do it because I can, it looks 'pretty' and, as SGB said, it's part of human nature (primate nature, even,) to fiddle around with one's appearance.

If you need to look at why we like long, shiny nails and hair: they're supposedly indicators of good health.

badguider Mon 24-Jun-13 15:19:24

long acrylic nails would be incompatible with most of the sports i do.... i would hate to think that a desire for acrylic nails would contribute to less young women doing sport but it's probably part of the package (along with hair that takes too long and too much equipment to easily 'do' in the changing rooms) sad

garlicnutty Mon 24-Jun-13 15:38:19

Surely young women who want to do the sport would leave off the nails? It's not as though women must have these nails ... is it? My point, I guess, is that modern woman does have free choice here, whereas early competitive tennis players had to fight for permission to play in flexible clothing.

... don't get me started on competitive beach volleyball, though!!!

badguider Mon 24-Jun-13 16:11:02

it's tough for a young woman/teen when all her friends are groomed in a particular way to 'miss out' because of swimming training or martial arts or whatever... generally it's easier for them to just let the sport go as it can seem not as important at that stage of life as 'fitting in' with peers.

garlicnutty Mon 24-Jun-13 16:23:56

I'm going to have to scour Facebook photos and the local teens, now! Maybe I'm just so old I've failed to notice a universal requirement for six-inch nails.

<sheepishly leaves thread>

AnyFucker Mon 24-Jun-13 16:25:30

Garlic, I am not allowed long nails false or otherwise in my job, but I do keep mine a nice shape to the end of my fingers and paint them pretty colours at the weekend

My issue isn't with "looking nice" but rendering yourself incapacitated for the sake of ..what exactly ?

rosabud Mon 24-Jun-13 18:12:51

Brilliant post KRITIQ and very interesting, too. But I still don't understand why, when women's independence (economically and intellectually from men) has increased over, say the last 25 years, the pressure for women to conform to these standards of grooming has increased rather than decreased. Why aren't we rejecting this form of social control as we are less dependent on others. I can only think it must be that:

a) the form of grooming we are conforming to is not as extreme as it used to be (ie no broken feet or internal organs deformed by corsetry) - although, with the advent of plastic surgery and breast implants, I'm not sure that this is true.

b) there wasn't less pressure to conform to a high standard of grooming 25 years ago, it's just that I am looking back through rose-tinted glasses and remembering it all wrong.

c) social control through forms of advertising and social media has become more draconian and sophisticated.

d) all of the above.

The rise of beauty as an industry has been incredible and I'm not sure how its happened or what I think!
In the 60s and 70s my mum would have done her nails, dyed her home, maybe trimmed bikini line, plucked eyebrows - now young women tend to outsource all those things at considerable cost. Why?

garlicnutty Mon 24-Jun-13 18:59:49

In 1988, aged 33, I had my hair cut & coloured every four weeks. Had legs waxed every four weeks. Did my own facials, manicures and pedicures but most of my friends 'had' them done. Several friends also spent fortunes on slimming and/or anti-cellulite and/or detox treatments. My best friend had regular colonic irrigation and went once a week to have an electric current shot through her thighs with long needles confused We all had sunbeds; I went every other day. I had a 'galvanic facelift' treatment that involved six weekly visits to a salon for a sort of electrified face pack. I wore baggy black clothes and Docs for work, but was privileged due to working in Fashion. All of my friends were expected to wear cute little business outfits with high heels. We all wore full makeup all the time. If you went to work without makeup, people would ask you what was wrong.

I still suspect women have more freedom of choice nowadays! I feel the social pressures to conform to a 'pornified' beauty ideal are stronger, but this is a slightly different issue. I think a separation of women's sexual 'value' from their work/professional value has been taking place. However, I do think this has always been confusing for young people: especially women. It often takes time & experience to develop all of one's identities.

Sorry for lazy language. Am tired.

KaseyM Mon 24-Jun-13 19:05:09

It's crap. Yesterday I put on a pair of high heeled boots but had to take them off cos I decided I really couldn't be arsed in making myself uncomfortable just for fashion.

It's all just a huge faff.

NiceTabard Mon 24-Jun-13 19:10:24

Have skimmed, sorry.

I have always preferred to keep my own nails quite long, and actually really dislike when they are too short.

I think there is a personal preference thing there to a certain extent (although obv super-long nails get in the way).

I would say that there are men who feel more comfortable with longer nails, or want to keep them long eg one hand for guitar, and that is also quite socially unacceptable. Ditto a spot of nail varnish is a major statement.

I would prefer if everyone was able to experiment with personal adornment without this rigid gender divide.

Also agree that expectations of grooming levels have got out of hand. Had a brilliant example of enforcement of standards the other day. A friend noted that my nail varnish was chipped and that "it's better to have none at all than have it imperfect". My response was, well I only wear it sometimes, for me, when I feel like it, and I don't care if it's chipped (so ner) grin

NiceTabard Mon 24-Jun-13 19:11:33

Oh SGB longer nails are excellent for picking your nose, it is a lifelong hobby of mine grin

flowery Mon 24-Jun-13 19:34:23

"My issue isn't with "looking nice" but rendering yourself incapacitated for the sake of ..what exactly ?"

I certainly don't feel at all incapacitated AnyFucker . As I said, really the only thing I can't do is pick up small objects very easily. I don't count that as being incapacitated. If I really felt they were a hindrance, I wouldn't have them - I don't have enough patience for unnecessary hindrances!

GoshAnneGorilla Mon 24-Jun-13 19:48:57

I do think the current shoe fashions are definitely disabling. I used to wince when watching The Apprentice and the men were in their comfy flat shoes, while the women were having to totter around in 4 inch heels. To me that does epitomise a blacklash against feminism.

Also, I'm pondering about how playing the beauty game affects women economically, as it seems beauty regimes that women can do at home cheaply aren't "good" enough, expensive salon treatments, whether for nails, hair or whatever are what women "need" to have. Men don't have this pressure, so in essence this is a stealth tax on women.

YoniTime Mon 24-Jun-13 20:57:13

Yes, the shoes. Now you can walk into an ordinary shoe shop and find stuff that only fetish/stripper botiques would have sold in the past.
It makes me wonder what the heck strippers and fetish people are supposed to wear/fetishize now that those shoes are mainstream?

I was v happy when the men's shoes inspired trend for women began, I however all the ladies' brogues i have tried on so far have been too narrow and been generally crappier made than the men's version.

garlicnutty Mon 24-Jun-13 21:35:11

YoniTime (s&b diversion) - I've been wearing these for 12 years, all still going strong!

Leather Converse are v. comfy and office-acceptable, too smile

WhentheRed Mon 24-Jun-13 23:37:59

My DD is going up to the academy after summer. Her school is having a "prom" or "grad". It is supposed to be a bit of low-key fun (with dancing, food and a photographer hmm), but the girls are getting new dresses and shoes. I already have a problem with the whole concept of "graduating" from primary school but to put the cherry on top, guess what I was told today? All her friends are having their hair curled and their nails done, at salons. Grrrrr. The make-up is of course a foregone conclusion.

If I say no, I will have ruined her life and be the "no fun Mum" at the party. I am trying really hard not to swear in writing.

By way of reference, in my P7, we had none of that. The fashionable Christmas party outfit worn by the girls that year was a hacking jacket and cords. Yes, that means trousers. No make-up, no heels, all short hair. Nails?, never even entered the consciousness. Almost no-one had ear-rings either.

At the S1 party, it was satin trousers and leggings with tunics. Still flat shoes, no make-up, short hair, no nails, a few ear-rings (not me).

SorryMyLollipop Mon 24-Jun-13 23:52:54

What KRITIQ said.

I had acrylic nails done once when I went to a ball. They did make it harder to do everyday tasks BUT were great for squeezing spots without bruising/breaking the skin. Handy but not worth it really

sashh Tue 25-Jun-13 01:18:38

i would hate to think that a desire for acrylic nails would contribute to less young women doing sport but it's probably part of the package

Did you watch the Olympics?

rosabud Tue 25-Jun-13 07:20:05

Yes, but the point is - where are all the male Olympians who have wasted hours in the salon? Oh! Out on the track/pool/enjoying down time with friends - doing something more interesting than sitting in a salon spending money on finger nails. AND still getting more in sponsorship deals!!

namechangeguy Tue 25-Jun-13 10:34:53

The only men who have an interest in women doing this are those making money from it. Otherwise, we really don't care. Personally, I think they look silly and are a waste of money. But if someone wants to do it and it makes them happier, go right ahead.

Men do daft stuff too. I suppose one male equivalent might be the meat-heads in the gym, pushing weights, beefing up and 'roiding up, endangering their long-term health in the process. Idiotic, but that is their choice.

But please, don't pretend that men per se have any interest or desire for women to do this. If it is a societal pressure, then I would just point out that society consists of men and women, and that sheep-like women are inflicting this on themselves in the name of trendiness. And just so I am absolutely, one hundred per cent clear, I have nothing against women doing this. I do object to people saying that men as a group are somehow behind it. Same goes for the ankle-breaking shoes. Nobody that I work with wears them. Perhaps the women here are a bit more sensible.

flowery Tue 25-Jun-13 10:39:15

"doing something more interesting than sitting in a salon spending money on finger nails"

Surely the point is that people who feel it is a waste of time and would rather be doing those things will do so?

I enjoy my time in the nail salon. It's the one time every couple of weeks where I stop and am not thinking about work, not rushing round after the kids, just having a nice chat with my lovely nail lady and relaxing.

Namechangeguy, Where have people stated that men as a group are behind it?
Most people are simply lamenting the changes and wondering what is going on.

namechangeguy Tue 25-Jun-13 10:47:24

Flowery, do you blame the patriarchy for pressurising you into having your nails done?

kim147 Tue 25-Jun-13 10:51:39

There are loads of nail salons and eyebrow salons springing up. Is it the TOWIE effect?

I looked back at some old university photos last night and I was just amazed to see the difference between what things looked like back then and nowadays.

flowery Tue 25-Jun-13 10:52:41


No. I don't have them done to please men, in fact I have no idea whether my DH prefers them done or not.

And I'm not the kind to have anything like that because I feel any kind of pressure. I'm 37 and way beyond peer pressure!

TheSmallClanger Tue 25-Jun-13 11:06:20

As a slight aside, the sound of false nails on a computer keyboard makes me feel slightly sick.

I can understand putting on massive, decorative Flo Jo style nails for going out, as a sort of style statement or an extension of your outfit. It's when it starts becoming an everyday thing, fake nails painted neutral colours for work, that I don't understand. At one point, I had really long natural nails, and they do get in the way. They get stuff stuck underneath them as well, and it's hard to get out without bending them.

msrisotto Tue 25-Jun-13 12:27:15

Kritiq mentioning lotus flower feet made me google the term and some really interesting things came up. Including this : 6 Trends that killed people.

I love pretty things but when it comes to shoes, the highly decorated beautiful shoes are all high heels sad I always look for the equivalent in flats (I'm 5'10 as it is!) but they are never as nice.
I don't have fake nails but very occasionally I'll get my nails painted with Shellac as that doesn't chip and I can go about my life as normal, but with pretty nails.

rosabud Tue 25-Jun-13 13:30:35

So, according to namechangeguy the answer to the interesting question being discussed on here, ie why has personal grooming possibly become more extreme/expensive/important/restrictive etc, particularly at a time when women's opportunities in other areas of life are increasing, is because some women don't have enough sense. Really broadening the debate there.

garlicnutty Tue 25-Jun-13 13:37:21

I've no idea whether it's any comfort to WhentheRed, but I was still massively into dressing up at 11yo (have been fascinated by fashion since toddlerdom.) I totally did go to parties in crazy dresses, over-styled hair, nails and makeup. This was very much against my parents' principles - for all their faults, they were right-on wrt gender politics - so my outfits were amateurishly self-made, using my great-aunt's amazing silk ballgowns and shoes. I do, however, suspect the feeling is the same for today's in-betweeners. I wonder if you and DD would both have a better time if you let her imagination run wild, then facilitated her realisation with professional hair and nails?

NCG and others - this might be a good time to mention my 'feminist economics' exercise, in which I mapped the board members of the companies that make & sell my toiletries. As my research travelled up the pyramids, the boards became more & more male-dominated - the large-scale beneficiaries of my wish for a more appealing or interesting appearance are, overwhelmingly, men.

Since my career was entirely founded on an understanding of how to profitably create "need" for unnecessary merchandise, the exercise made a powerful feminist point for me.

Lottapianos Tue 25-Jun-13 13:40:49

I go for regular manicures and love it but I only have my natural nails painted, have never had acrylics or extensions. It's fun and makes me feel good. I'm aware that the money I spend on manicures is not available for other things but that's one of the wonderful things about having your own money - choice! It's certainly not for my partner's benefit because he things I'm bonkers and looks at me like this hmm whenever I have them done grin

I have no idea how women manage to do every-day things with massively extended long nails.

garlicnutty Tue 25-Jun-13 13:43:48

Re men & women 'wasting' time on nail care, by the way ... I realise this isn't the actual point of the thread, but it might be as well to remember that most other countries favour obsessively filed, trimmed, buffed and polished nails for men as well as women. Have a look at the nails on your immigrant male locals, maybe when coming out of church instead of off the farm or building site ...

kim147 Tue 25-Jun-13 13:47:10

The media must play a large part - advertising, magazines and all those celebrity programmes. I look at teenage girls today and see such a difference to 20 years ago.

Where is all this pressure coming from? I can imagine it must be so hard to resist the pressure such as at 11 when all your friends are getting dressed up for a primary school prom - and that's just at 11.

WhentheRed Tue 25-Jun-13 14:27:01

garlicnutty, it wasn't my daughter's imagination that was running wild. It was the peer pressure from her friends and her desire to fit in. There's no rebellion there. In other words, it was the opposite of your experience as an 11 year old.

frissonpink Tue 25-Jun-13 14:32:10

The fashion is for short gel nails now.

If you're getting long acrylic ones, you're out of touch grin

garlicnutty Tue 25-Jun-13 14:40:17

Yes, I do see what you mean, When.

From a business point of view, it's good practice to keep creating new markets. Children, men and the elderly are all fair game for enhanced toiletry 'needs'. I'm sure everybody on these threads teaches their children to be critical (cynical) thinkers, but of course there is still the matter of herd/tribe identification. It's horrid to feel you don't fit in; when marketers successfully hijack this instinct, they're onto a winner.

I hope you and DD come up with a satisfactory approach to all this smile Wishing her a good time at the party!

garlicnutty Tue 25-Jun-13 14:42:09

grin frisson. Truth: wait long enough and you'll come into fashion wink

<smugly admires own short, natural but buffed, nails>

frissonpink Tue 25-Jun-13 14:45:38


Thank god though really. I mean, who can empty the tumble dryer with long nails?! grin

Startail Tue 25-Jun-13 23:17:48

Nothing wrong with nail art for fun as the olympic athletes were.

No harm in my 12y DD bridesmaiding in daft heels as she and the bride had flip flops for dancing.

It's the woman on woman pressure to make other women comform to a fashion code that not only takes time and money, but is impractical, uncomfortable uncomfortable and makes us look 'sexy', vain and vacuous in front of male colleagues.

Apart from the fact that much of it discriminates against women with DCs who haven't the time, money or life style for daft nails.

Most older women really don't want to wear heels either (I simply can't, I never have)

WhentheRed Wed 26-Jun-13 01:19:18

Thanks garlicnutty. We reached a compromise whereby I will paint her nails and will try curling her hair. I don't begrudge her wanting to play around. I can't stand the outside pressure on her to conform to a fake femininity.

fuckwittery Wed 26-Jun-13 02:22:06

I have my nails done quite often,and the nail bars are mainly about gels (no extensions, just long lasting, nail grows naturally underneath) or manicures on natural nails. Acrylic extensions are not v popular nowadays as they ruin your nails. There are also all sorts of fun pattern wrap things, don't know what they are called.
Anyway, my not very scientific social conclusion is that generally I think women's nails are more polished/decorated with the rise of nail bars, but not generally longer, i.e. not disabling. Gel nails are bloody brilliant, you can do anything with them on, last for ages.
However, it is time consuming to get them off, and generally time consuming to paint your nails and wait for them to dry etc, plus the expectation that nails must always be polished with the rise of gels.

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