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Manicures Are Non-Essential But For Latinas, Acrylic Nails Have Always Been More Than A Luxury

For as long as I can remember, each and every time my mother has sat down at the table or leaned against our counter to sort through and clean her pinto beans, she has told me and my sisters the same story over and over again, almost as a ritual.

The story paints a picture of my adolescent mother, dark brown skin and darker hair, picking through the leftover beans her mother had already sorted through, trying to find the small beans that were split down the middle. 

She would take the halves she found, put craft glue on the ends, and press them onto whichever fingernail they fit best. When all 10 nails were dry, she would paint her new makeshift nail extensions with red polish and take on her day.

Like a church hymn I put no deliberate effort in memorizing, yet I know all the words to, I recall my mother’s voice saying “I wanted fake nails because they made me feel smart. I saw women speaking in both Spanish and their hands, and their long, colorful nails made them look sophisticated and intelligent to me. The nails were who I wanted to be.”

When the news hit of COVID-19 and the limitations on social life that would follow, both meme pages on social media and the Latinx women in my life poked fun at what would become of all the Latinxs who could no longer keep their nail appointments. As the severity of the coronavirus increased, nail products became less available on the shelves of my local drug stores. And while some people were stocking up on toilet paper, some were quietly making their way to the beauty aisles. 

When the women in my own life started their stockpiles of press-ons, my mother laughed behind a bowl of half cleaned pinto beans and said, “Everyone should just glue on beans like I did.”

This got me thinking; as the death toll rises and unemployment rates skyrocket, the things that society deems “non-essential,” such as nail services, are falling so far beyond the back-burner that they are seldom, if ever, being discussed. When lives are being lost, the grieving of a temporary naked nail isn’t worthy of being mentioned.

For Latinx women, acrylic nails have always been more than an ornament or a luxury.

@reynanoriega / Instagram

For centuries Latinx women have used nail art as an outlet for feminity, individuality, and self-care. Decorated nails serve as an extension of language and heritage. As my mother said, she saw the women who came before her speak with their hands, teaching the younger generations that there is power and intellect in femininity. For many Latinxs, that strength can often be tied to the nail. So what happens to Latinx women when that cultural ceremony is threatened? 

Nail appointments alone often serve as an escape from the daily life and struggles Latinx women face regularly.

@nailsby_jennn / Instagram

Half church, half therapy — the nail salon is a place for both communion and mental health. With the constant weight of responsibility Latinx’s face from both society and their own families weighing on them, the nail salon is one of the very few places women of all generations have used to carve out a space for personal care without judgment. 

Often mistaken as relics of self-sacrifice and duty, Latinx women have made a culture around using acrylic nails as a siren call to our refusal of being boxed in.

@yesikastarr / Instagram

If the world is going to tell us we can only be the homemakers, the child bearers, the caretakers, the cooks, the cleaners — then the middle finger we stick up at them should at least be decorated. 

But with COVID-19’s shelter-in-place having no end in sight, it’s safe to assume Latinxs all over the country are silently dealing with feelings of anxiety over their current loss of appendages. And while in no form do natural nails equate to human lives lost, there is still room in this conversation to acknowledge the validity in feelings of upset over sacred traditions being uprooted. 

While it’s seen as sacred for church congregations to gather in their vehicles in parking lots in efforts to recreate some semblance of a sanctuary, the longing for nail salons and their comforting familiarity in this time of complete distress can be seen as vain and frivolous.

@nailzbymarz / Instagram

That’s the thing about tradition. Unless you practice it, it’s nearly impossible to understand it. And for the majority of this country, it seems almost nonsensical to say that without two inches of painted plastic adhering to your nails, you feel as though it is more difficult to face the day. That without your bimonthly appointment for a fill, you can feel your confidence draining. It sounds absurd to someone who can’t grasp, that for Latinx women who are under even stronger pressures of taking care of families, depleting incomes, all while still facing prejudice within this system during this unprecedented time, we can’t help but feel that if we could only have our acrylic nails this would all feel more manageable. 

However, the spirit of my mother in her childhood still dances in my head. When she wasn’t of age to get professionally done acrylics yet, her glued on beans did not feel less like power to her. When she craved control over her womanhood and future as a Latinx, it was not the acrylic that gave her that affirmation, but rather her ingenuity and creativity of which always lied inside of her. 

During this pandemic era where we are learning how to live a life we have never known, questioning our own future as Latinxs, all while teaching our own hands how to move without the acrylic extensions of our identity, we should remind ourselves as my mother reminded me that the acrylic may be the tool, but the hands that hold them were always the makers. The nail does not make the woman. Just as my mother always taught me, the woman makes the nail.

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Fans Think This Photo Of Barbie Is Proof She’s An Out And Proud Lesbian

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Fans Think This Photo Of Barbie Is Proof She’s An Out And Proud Lesbian

Mattel/ Instagram

The fact that the early days of Barbie were not quite so inclusive to all of us comes as no surprise. The blonde, impossibly figured doll with a penchant for similar-looking friends is a far cry away from the Barbie of today who has friends of all shapes, races, sizes, sexual identities, and abilities. Even better, today’s Barbie crew includes dolls who give queer children a broader playgound for their imagination.

Recently, Barbie has added a new addition to her friend group whose bringing more power to her LGTBQ fans.

Social media has dubbed the LGBTQ positive Aimee Song doll Barbie‘s girlfriend.

Twitter’s latest excitement is about a theory that Barbie and Aimee Song are dating. Photos of Mattel’s doll Aimee Song doll show her wearing a “Love Wins” T-shirt that supports LGBTQ+ rights. The Mattel doll was inspired by fashion blogger Aimee Song and recently caught renewed attention in a viral post shared to Twitter.

The “Love Wins” photos are only now going viral but were actually released in November 2017.

The photos of Barbie and the Aimee doll were shared to Twitter last Monday by user @kissevermore and now has Twitter debating whether the two are dating.

The pictures of Barbie and Aimee show the two dolls eating avocado toast. petting a dog, and smiling at each other. The images have fans questioning when Barbie came out and how she managed to nail a hot girlfriend before they did.

Even REAL Aimee Song weighed in on the images to confirm the relationship.

“I am the girlfriend,” she tweeted with a photo of herself and the Aimee Song doll. 

While Mattel has yet to officially identify Barbie as a lesbian, the original Instagram posts related to the Love Wins Barbies are proof that she is at least an ally.

Confirmed or not, true or not, one of the best parts of Barbie is that she is meant to be whoever her fans want her to be.

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Anna Wintour Defends Kamala Harris’s Vogue Debut

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Anna Wintour Defends Kamala Harris’s Vogue Debut

Spencer Platt / Getty

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is officially “in vogue.”

The former California Senator is gracing the cover of the February issue of Vogue magazine. The cover marks the first time an elected official has appeared on the cover of the fashion magazine. Yes, in the past, Washington insiders like Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama have made it on the cover but Harris’ cover is a reflection of our country’s progress. In her first-ever Vogue appearance, Harris spoke openly about the first 100 days of the Biden administration, the country’s protests against police brutality and racism as well as the people and childhood that shaped her into the leader she is today.

Speaking about hers and Biden’s victory night, Harris told Vogue that she wanted her words to be something that young Americans would remember.

The first African American woman elected vice president graced the pages of Vogue in a power suit, casual attire, and Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers ( a casual cover look whose controversy we’ll get to later). Her look is a reminder that she’s a woman ready to work and get to business. The down to earth look of authority is familiar to the one Harris brought to the stage late last year when she delivered her victory speech.

“It was very important for me to speak to the moment, and the moment includes understanding that there is a great responsibility that comes with being a first,” Harris explained to Vogue about the evening. “I always say this: I may be the first to do many things—make sure I’m not the last,” she tells me. “I was thinking of my baby nieces, who will only know one world where a woman is vice president of the United States, a woman of color, a Black woman, a woman with parents who were born outside of the United States.”

Harris went onto share that the night was emotional for her not just because it marked the end of a rigorous campaign and a new start for our country but because she was thinking of her mother. Harris’s mother, Shyamala Gopalan, an Indian immigrant, and breast cancer researcher passed away 12 years ago. During her speech, Harris told Vogue that she thought of her mother and “what her life meant” how it had propelled Harris to the position she holds now.

“I’m representing my mom,” Harris went onto explain “I’m representing my husband. This country is more than two centuries old, and our country needs to show diversity, and diversity means leadership comes in all races, all colors. It’s time for a change.”

When it comes to change, Harris explained that she has her mind on tackling racism in America.

According to Harris, this summer’s widespread protests against police brutality and racism in the country didn’t actually affect or change the way she thinks about how Black people are policed, charged, and prosecuted in the U.S. “What it did do was made it easier to point out that the fight for criminal-justice reform, the fight for racial justice should be everyone’s fight,” she explained. “I was out there with the folks who were protesting the murder of George Floyd, and it was the first time I saw so much diversity in who was marching arm in arm, shouting, speaking, crying that Black lives matter.”

Throughout the Vogue piece, it’s clear that Harris’s authenticity and approachability shine. In the next month, she is due to become the second most powerful person in the country. Here’s hoping that she will work hard to help heal the United States in a time when it faces various crises brought on by a lack of authority and trust in the last administration.Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, which caused controversy when it was prematurely leaked over the weekend.

In a statement to The New York Times, Anna Wintour defended the controversial Vogue cover of Harris saying it was not Vogue’s “intention to diminish the importance of the Vice President-elect’s incredible victory.”

Vice President-elect Harris’s Vogue cover caused controversy after it was leaked over the weekend. Critics took issue with the lighting and style of the color accusing the image of Harris as looking “washed out” and criticizing casual outfit for not being appropriate for a historic magazine cover.

“When the two images arrived at Vogue,” Wintour explained. “All of us felt very, very strongly that the less formal portrait of the Vice President-elect really reflected the moment that we were living in,” she said in the statement. “We are in the midst…of the most appalling pandemic that is taking lives by the minute, and we felt to reflect this tragic moment in global history, a much less formal picture, something that was very, very accessible, and approachable, and really reflected the hallmark of the Biden-Harris campaign…”

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