Beautiful Brains: Lady Gaga, Beauty Norms, and "Bad Romance" Inspried Nail Art

Put Your (Painted) Paws Up!
With this entry I am introducing a series of posts called "Beautiful Brains," which will be dedicated to the thoughtful and critical discussion of beauty-related topics. In these posts I will be combining my love for all things beauty related with discussions of more socially and culturally grounded contemporary issues, such as body image, the beauty industry, norms of gender and sexuality, and so forth.

Love or hate her, Lady Gaga is undoubtedly one of the leading pop culture icons on our generation. Through the bizarre and ever changing stylization of her body, Lady Gaga challenges what our culture perceives as beautiful and desirable. The 'Born This Way' era has introduced prosthetic spiked cheek bones and shoulders, but her play with corporeality began much earlier, as can be seen in the 'Bad Romance' video. In 'Bad Romance,' Gaga displays a protruding spine and giant doll eyes which exaggerate the cultural  markers of feminine beauty (slenderness and emphasized, youthful eyes). The visual effect is, I believe, intentionally unsettling. Even though we are told that extreme slenderness and youthfulness are qualities we should prize in women, Lady Gaga's interpretation is haunting. Through her extreme and overemphasized adherence to the beauty norm, she highlights how disturbing these expectations are. So is Lady Gaga freakish? Or are American beauty standards?

Thinking about Lady Gaga and her 'Bad Romance' inspired me to create nail design based on the music video. In the video, Gaga struts in some outrageous Alexander McQueen footwear. These nude, jewel encrusted heels are simultaneously delicately feminine and severely hardcore. Like pretty ballet shoes meets broken glass. I toned the look down a little and transformed it into a wearable nude manicure.
I am wearing 2 coats of Essie's Topless and Barefoot, an amazing true nude that went opaque in 2 coats. Though the color is the perfect nude I have been searching for, I found the formula to be a little finicky. It was pretty runny, and I couldn't avoid flooding out my cuticles.

The glitter gradient was achieved using Sally Hansen Hard as Nail Xtreme Wear in Strobe Light, which I have heard is a near dupe for OPI's Teenage Dream from the Katy Perry collection.I applied the first coat starting 3/4ths down my nail, another starting at half, a third on the top 1/4th, and a final coat just on the tip for maximum sparkle.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Favorites More