I’ve actually painted a nail before, for no reason at all except that it looked nice to look at. After all, when your job consists of staring at your hands for hours on end, sooner or later you’ll come up with ideas to change things a bit. But recently, it’s become a trend for men to have a painted fingernail. So, what does it mean?
According to Tiphero, it’s called the “Polished Man”, and it’s run by the organization of the same name. Polished Man is all about asking some hard questions, and raising awareness for children who have been sexually abused. Or, who still are, sadly.
It all began when Elliot Hostelo, the organization’s founder, met Thea, a young Cambodian girl. What he found out was heartbreaking.
Thea’s family was extremely poor, even by Cambodian standards. One day, she felt comfortable enough in the company of Elliot to tell him that she was undergoing pretty much constant sexual abuse since the age of eight. At the time, Thea was ten years old.
It took Elliot some time to weather the shock and disgust. He felt like he had to do something. Acting on impulse and wanting to console the little girl, he painted one of his fingernails. He told her it was a symbol that ensures he’ll never forget her story and he’ll do everything he can to make it stop.
Soon after, however, he discovered that Thea’s case was just a drop in the bucket – every fifth child in the world was sexually abused. It was usually the deed of older men in the family.
Eventually, Elliot founded the “Polished Man” organization and started a trend of men who polished their nails. This drew a lot of attention from others, who were suddenly curious. It also led to a massive campaign that gathered a lot of donations.
The project is trending in parts of Europe, Australia and soon the United States.
The “Polished Man” encourages peers to fight the feeling of being embarrassed about their polished fingernail, because some might. It’s an effective social symbol, and at the end of the day – it’s just a polished fingernail, man.