Kid Cudi doesn’t give a shit if you like his nail polish or not. In a vibrantly worded post on Instagram, the rapper slash actor (watch We Are Who We Are on SBS for a truly flawless performance) made it clear that his decision to paint his fingernails was not up for discussion. And by discussion he meant telling anyone who didn’t like it to pretty much disappear. In more forceful words, mind you.
Why does this matter?
Technically, it shouldn’t. In a perfect world, it shouldn’t. But stubborn cultural norms continue to persist. It’s hard to understand how, in 2021, self-appointed guardians of tradition still feel the need to dictate what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour for men.
It’s a weird thing to witness, this pigeonholing of masculinity. It’s rooted in sexism. We don’t like to see men wear nail polish (or dresses, or portray any traits stereotypically associated with “behaviour”) because it’s girly and therefore weak, or trivial.
It’s also toxic. And before the MRAs and nice guys kick off, there is nothing inherently wrong with being male. This issue is cultural. One that demands a code of conformity that benefits a status quo that, ultimately, benefits no one because men are left repressed, as emotional expression becomes stigmatised limiting the ability to connect or communicate with those around them. Circumstances that have a direct correlation to men also suffering higher rates of suicide. Of course, these statistics are also impacted by the rates of LGBT+ members. Yet somehow this connection remains overlooked by Cudi’s detractors.
(Maybe it’s more revealing to note that while Cudi, who is of African-American and Mexican heritage, is on the receiving end of a cavalcade of bullshit while the same criticism seems to have somehow missed Harry Styles who has regularly adopted a far more fluid approach to style. Dresses, shawls, scarves, heels, make-up – the British star has openly discussed how he sees no differentiation between masculine, feminine or gender at large and simply occupies his own space as himself.)
Turned my comments off on instagram. Seems people really have a problem w me painting my nails. I got tired of blockin so many accounts. I really need u to understand, if u dont like me doin this or anything I do, please dont buy my albums, dont come to my shows. Fuck way off.
— The Chosen One (@KidCudi) July 17, 2021
But the biggest irony is that this criticism of Cudi’s wearing of nail polish comes hot on the heels of his appearance on Saturday Night Live back in April where he wore a dress. At the time, a similar wave of criticism was thrown at the artist. His choice to wear it, says Cudi, was a tribute to deceased rocker Kurt Cobain on the anniversary of the singers death and to shine a spotlight on suicide prevention and awareness, something that Cudi has personally experienced.
If a man wearing nailpolish is all it takes to bring about your personal apocalypse, you need to get out more. In the words of Kourtney Kardashian, Kim – there’s people that are dying.