Four months can change a person. Who knew? I recently delved deeper into the nailart community and have subsequently thrown out a lifelong misconception.
I think, understandably, my assumption had been that a group of girls, finding themselves in the same box, with a mutual interest, and consequently promoting their skill for the whole population to comment and criticise, would be submerged into a world of unbearable, stagnant, striving, competitive bitchiness. Add to the mixture the freedom of anonymity and the safety of miles of separation and one would imagine that the manicured claws would be out in full force.
My experience to date of single sex scenarios has consisted of primary and secondary education and numerous overpopulated flat shares. The result has often been cliquiness among the best – best looking, highest achieving, most talented, most daring, richest, you name it, if it exists, we will have found some way of rating and comparing ourselves – and condescension towards the worst. Competition, girls and comparison go together like a jelly sandwich.
Given that nailart is, as far as I know, predominantly a female fascination, one would suspect a similar cattiness to come out in nailart enthusiasts as they painstakingly paint their nails and post their achievements online. You’d imagine rivalries spanning continents and virtual warfare. Well, that’s what I had presumed anyway.
You can understand therefore, why, after voluntarily immersing myself into just such a community, preparing to relive my teenage years, I was absolutely stunned by what I found.
I had chanced upon a deeply considerate, encouraging, inspiring, caring and altruistic group of girls.
The things I’ve read and seen over the past few months have blown me away and made me want to be a part of this community more and more with each passing nailart episode.
The first time I picked up on it was when one nailartist (@hanick7107) had had their photograph on Instagram ‘stolen’ by nailart thieves. The watermark had been photoshopped out and the photograph had since gone viral and every nailart account had an imitation or interpretation of the stolen design, each one questioning, ‘does anyone know who did these originally? Here are my #tribalnails’
While usually this type of imitation is considered flattery, in this case, the architect of the design had gained no credit whatsoever.
She reposted her original photo, again with her watermark in place, and expressed her sadness at having been the victim of a cruel nailart crime. But, despite her talent, she was relatively unknown, and therefore couldn’t gain enough traction to counteract the damage that had been done – or at least, not singlehandedly. Cue the nailart community. Accounts with major followings got behind her and started posting her photo to spread the word and rectify this misdeed. All for one and one for all!
If that’s not enough this very same girl, spurred on by the love and encouragement she’d received, shared with the instaphere her immense gratitude and subsequent decision to begin a weightloss journey, charting her success for her followers to see. This nailart community is quite literally changing lives.
Stories like this are a dime a dozen here – girls promoting, encouraging and inspiring one other with video tutorials or reports of their first ever attempts at nailart to catalogue their improvement and spur on beginners, nailartists collectively calling the #nailartpolice – yup, you read that right!
This is not a place for judgment or hierarchy. This is a utopian society where girls are transparent about their failures and subsequently met with open arms. Could this be the reversal of our childhoods? Copious years battling with insecurities birthed in throwaway criticisms holding us back in life, suddenly replaced with compliments, admiration and love?
I am certain that every girl in this community has a similar testimony to tell. For me the encouragement and positivity that I’ve received from a group of people I’ve never even met has led to me becoming an artist, an entrepreneur and a writer, labels I would never have dreamt of claiming a few months ago. The sky’s the limit! What could it do for you?