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Coloring your prejudices: nail-polish marketing, “slut-shaming,” and feminist activism


The firm Masglo sells nail polish in several regions of the Americas, predominantly in its home of Colombia. Some of Masglo’s colors have been marketed through words associated with “slut-shaming” and other misogynistic concepts, which stimulated a 2015 consumer debate on Twitter and Facebook. We analyze the tweets from those exchanges and relate them to feminism, anti-feminism, and the status of women in Colombian society. Our results show that female clients, who were the main participants in the debate, most favored the company’s strategy. Some nodes highlighted deeply rooted Colombian gender roles or reflected on sociocultural status and femininity as political issues. Nail varnishes that suggested associations with feminism, such as “empowered”, “diverse,” or “human,” were practically ignored. The debate changed little: in keeping with the nation’s macho culture and commercially narrow beauty norms, the company continues to exploit invidious stereotypes. In the future, a cross-class women’s solidarity with all of those engaged in the beauty industry must emerge.

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