If you see a man walking around with nail polish on just one nail, do not immediately think of him as eccentric. Instead of making a bizarre fashion statement, he might be supporting a noble cause. One painted fingernail has become a sign of recognition of the Polished Man – an organization looking to end physical and sexual violence against children.
The movement was started by social entrepreneur Elliot Costello. When he visited Cambodia he made acquaintance with a then 10-year-old girl named Thea, who was already being sexually abused for two years constantly. She is one in five – that’s how many kids suffer physical or sexual violence before adulthood. It is then that the 31-year-old first painted one of his fingernails as a show of solidarity with the young Cambodian.
Costello, who had been involved in various charity projects from a young age soon kickstarted Polished Man.
The movement is fast becoming an international phenomenon. According to their official website, Polished Man raised $1,000,000 in donations in 2016 and is already working in Australia, Europe and the United states.
“Polished Man starts with painting a fingernail. That nail leads to a conversation. that conversation inspires a donation. That donation allows for awareness, prevention and protection. And it ends with a world where no child suffers from violence”, the Polished Men say on their website.
They also encourage women around the world to stand firmly behind their men and celebrate positive masculinity.
All funds raised by the organization go towards trauma recovery and trauma prevention programs. According to founder Costello, Polished Man is about not turning one’s back to the vulnerable. The painted nail is symbolic – the idea is to raise one’s voice and finger and say no to violence towards those who cannot defend themselves.
The entrepreneur says it’s about “embrace the smirks… and know it doesn’t matter”.