“Males Painting Nails” Causes Minor Uproar on Campus

Mrs. Maine-Motes challenged male students with gender identity project.

Jasmine Davis, Staff Reporter

On Thursday March 2nd, all around Indian River High School, male students from Mrs.Maine-Motes’ psychology classes were walking around with polish on their nails as an experiment on gender roles and their expectations in society.

Mrs.Maine-Motes says the point of the assignment was “to see what happens when they violate someone’s gender schema” and how the reactions of others affected them or made them feel.

The project that the male psych students were assigned in class was one  on gender schema and gender roles. Gender schema is by textbook definition is “a mental network of knowledge, beliefs, metaphors and expectations about what it means to be male or female.”

The assignment was for each of the boys to not only paint their nails, but leave them that way for an entire day–and keep track of the reactions of their friends, and others here at school. They were to note whether or not people gave them positive or negative comments and reactions and even if they were questioned.

As part of this assignment, they were not supposed to tell anyone exactly why they had painted their nails. They were simply supposed to act naturally and go about their regular schedules.

When asked what he thought about this assignment and gender schema overall, student and participant Brandon Arthur had this to say “There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just painting your nails. It’s not affecting anyone around me, so why should it matter?”

While most people thought it to be a simple act of silliness and gave comments such as “Nice nails” and “Wow how pretty,” some of the boys reported that the snickering and whispering was definitely mean-spirited.

There were in fact noted instances where people found this activity completely ridiculous. Several boys in the experiment felt so much social pressure that they scraped the polish off before the end of the day.

The next step in this project was for the class to analyze and talk about this experiment’s results, and explain whether or not their expectations of it were accurate.