By Hayley Parr
Manicured nails to most girls are seen as an accessory, a finishing touch to an outfit, a glam look that will compliment their new shoes. But for some they are much more than what meets the eye.
In India women are stepping into salons not to perfect their looks but for protection.
The long, sharp, pointy nail look graced by red carpet stars and crafted by many popular nail bars is an on-trend style for beauty enthusiasts but some Indian women have gone for the cat-woman style nail tips to protect themselves against sex attackers.
Taking only minutes to create the false nails around an inch long filed to a point costs only around £8 in India.
For myself, having a therapist transform my nails from thin, polish stained stumps into elegant masterpieces worthy of ‘insta-gramming’ is a luxury, but for others it is a matter of life or death.
Carrying chilli powder or pepper spray to dispense in attackers eyes are a common must have in an Indian woman’s bag or pocket.
A survey by UN Women found 73% of females in New Delhi felt unsafe in their own surroundings all the time. Many men blamed women for their behaviour or the way they dress for their sexual violence attacks.
The sharp nails act a defence mechanism for girls who feel intimidated or encounter groping or abusive males.
As a result of growing attacks women are going for this style of nails for a sense of empowerment as tolerance is lowered and attitudes are changing towards the culture of female sexual violence.
I personally love the fact that attitudes are changing and women are no longer feeling responsible for sexual attacks or harassment they receive walking down the street, while on public transport or in their own communities.
On a fashion note I do believe a women’s outer look can change the way she feels inside, and this story proves my point. Women across India are feeling stronger, more confident and powerful because of the shape of their nails, which are equipped for protecting them against sex attackers.
Not only are the women of India looking good with bright, inch long nails but also they are protecting themselves and leading safer lives. Their nails are more than just a fashion accessory.