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How Purple Became The Sexiest Color

Life

Move aside, red and black

Society doesn’t urge every female-identifying person to keep a good, little purple dress in their closet. Jessica Rabbit didn’t make young children confused about being attracted to a cartoon character via a glittering purple gown with an impossibly high slit. However, a recent customer survey sex shop Babeland conducted suggests purple is the sexiest sex toy color. It kinda makes sense, though, because purple is also the sexiest color in general. It represents a departure from binary, hetero norms, a creative openness, and duh, royalty. (See also: Prince.) And purple’s rising popularity in regards to mainstream sexuality is a win for sexual progress.

Purple has many cultural correlations. One of which has the color tethered to queer culture, a tie that originated from the "Lavender Scare," during which the federal government instituted a program targeting gay Americans in a purge in which more than 10,000 people lost their jobs. Since then, purple has also been a color worn to show support for LGBTQ youth during GLAAD’s Spirit Day and other occasions. As more and more of society grows to accept the fact that gender is part of a spectrum rather than a binary, purple is the perfect blend of the heteronormative colors associated with specific genders: blue for male, pink for female. In that sense, purple would be situated smack-dab in the middle of the spectrum. 

Additionally, with rising popularity of imagery like unicorns, mermaids, and glitter, millennials are embracing the mainstreaming of queer culture. Meaning, more young people are rejecting hetero norms, even if purchasing goods to be used in heterosexual scenarios. Roles are shifting and traditional hard lines blurring; frankly, that’s healthy for anyone exploring their sexuality in a safe, consensual way, be it through some lavender lacy thong or a collection of violet butt plugs.

Purple represents the sixth chakra (sometimes also referred to as deep indigo, which, tuh-may-toe, tuh-maw-toe), which is the chakra centered around the third eye. This chakra harnesses powers of intuition (certainly helpful while changing up positions and drafting inventive dirty talk on the fly), inner wisdom (if you don’t know where your G spot is, how can you expect a partner to find it?), and extrasensory perception (hello, it’s polite to get your partner[s] off, as well).

Crystals aside, anyone who grew up in the conservative claws of Christian youth group outings, knows “making purple” is shorthand for co-ed mixing, i.e. what happens when male-identifying (blue) and female-identifying (pink) kids get to hang out together. Something is kinda fun about breaking the rules long after your final Jars of Clay sing-along—it adds the feeling of scandal, which, is pretty hot, TBH.

Purple also rarely occurs in nature, making it inherently exotic. What we can't easily have is always desirable, right? This could be why the color is also frequently associated with royalty. And while sex is in many ways available to everyone, depending on your socioeconomic status, the freedom to explore sex without potentially life-altering consequences is something often reserved for the elite few, unfortunately. Which is perhaps why sex toys, which though expensive are risk-free when it comes to diseases, unwanted pregnancy, and emotional attachments, are most popular in purple. They are a healthy, if luxurious, avenue for self-discovery; yes, a $100 lavender ball gag is potentially financially prohibitive, but that kind of decadence can feel super-sexy, which is often just what we need in our lives.

Nail polish is for novices

Fashion label The Blonds is known for its high-intensity looks that you'd only wear if you wanted to stand out (and who doesn't?). For its runway shows, wild press-on nails are the beauty step that can't be missed. So, since the brand has partnered with CND since it was founded, we thought it best to get prepped for the show with Jan Arnold, CND's co-founder.

See why you should take your nail look from a zero to a 10, in the video above.

Credits:
Shot by Charlotte Prager
Edited by Gretta Wilson
Produced by Alexandra Hsie
Production Assistant: Polina Buchak
Featuring Jan Arnold of CND Nails and The Blonds

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Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

It would've been nice if someone said the word "fat"

Back in November, Rebel Wilson claimed to be the first plus-sized lead in a romantic comedy when she appeared on Ellen to talk about her role in Isn't It Romantic. Wilson was not only wrong, but she was—even if inadvertently—erasing the work of Black plus-size actresses like Queen Latifah and Mo'Nique, both of whom have expansive resumes that include romantic comedies.

Wilson's comment isn't the first example of white women taking up a little too much space in the fat acceptance ethos. It's actually quite common. But there is a reason why women like Wilson—women who are blonde, pretty, successful, and white—get put front and center in calls for body positivity. In the same way that feminism—the movement from which body positivity was born—has often failed to address how gender intersects with other identities like race and class; so, too, has body positivity been championed as a cause for otherwise privileged women. And that's why it's no surprise that Isn't It Romantic, which aspires to be both a spot-on mockery of rom-coms and a celebration of body positivity, is actually a perfect example of how very white both the movie genre and the body positivity movement tend to be.

In the film, Wilson plays Natalie, an architect based in New York, who is single and plus-sized—the archetypal rom-com underdog. Very early on in the movie, she endures the double humiliation of both being hit by a runaway food cart and then accosted by its owner for not stopping it with her "cement truck"-like body. At work, Natalie is similarly disrespected: The office manager hands off troubleshooting tasks to Natalie; another colleague always tasks Natalie to throw out his trash; her assistant Whitney (Betty Gilpin) won't stop watching movies (rom-coms, naturally) while in the office; and Natalie is so afraid to present her ideas for more innovative parking garage designs that she isn't even widely known in the firm as an architect, and is treated like an intern.

But is Natalie just a doormat? Or is it that she isn't asking for what she wants? And isn't very nice about not getting it? If Natalie's life is any example, the bar on suffering is set pretty low for white women. In her personal life, Natalie lives alone with her dog, and seems to be pretty well-off, financially; her best friend is actually her slacker assistant, Whitney, and she's close with another coworker, Josh (Adam Devine), who gives Natalie constant emotional support. She's decidedly anti-romantic, having been told by her mother from a young age that there's no such thing as real-life fairy tales; she's level-headed and practical. But also, she's filled with self-loathing. This leads her to be crass, sarcastic, and disconnected from people. And it was this last part that was hard for me. As a fat Black woman who grew up broke, does not have an assistant, and would get fired if I didn't do my job well, it was hard, if not impossible, to root for her.

For Natalie, though, everything changes when she bangs her head while fighting off a mugger. Her mundane life is tinted through rosy rom-com glasses. Suddenly, all the things that sucked about her life are gone, and everything is beautiful and perfect. But was her life so bad before? It didn't really seem to be.

And yet, looking around the theater at the mostly white, female audience, I accepted that my feelings didn't seem to be shared. But that almost seems to be by design; this feels like a movie for a white, female audience. There is only one person of color in the movie who even has a name: It's Isabelle (Priyanka Chopra), who shows up about halfway through the film—after everything has been rom-com filtered—as a yoga ambassador and swimsuit model. But a name is all Isabella has. A supporting character at best, she doesn't have any connection to anyone other than her white boyfriend, and is sketchily drawn. We learn nothing of her familial or ethnic background, and, even when she is shown at her wedding, there is nobody from her family celebrating with her. This huge oversight is particularly bizarre, given that Natalie has already bemoaned the lack of diversity in romantic films.

Another huge oversight? The presence of the word "fat." I don't think I heard it used a single time. Natalie only references her weight indirectly, by commenting on the appearance of straight-sized women; when talking about her own body, the word "fat" is replaced with "girl like me." But by ignoring this aspect of herself, and refusing to address it head-on, Natalie is succumbing to the same fatphobia that shapes her world, whether she identifies it as being a problem or not.

Before her life becomes a rom-com, Natalie feels invisible at work and in the world. Some of this is certainly her fault, but fatphobia is also at play. Fatphobia chips away at the humanity of fat people from different angles. It means that Natalie gets used to being dehumanized; she doesn't expect others to have empathy for her when she's physically hurt, because they don't value her body. And it's no coincidence that Natalie's fantasy world includes a magically bigger apartment with unlimited clothing options, because discrimination against fat people isn't just a matter aesthetics and preferences—it affects everything from our ability to dress ourselves to our ability to make and save money, since there's a price to pay for being fat, even if it's just having to pay more to travel. Just as much as gender and race intersect with fat bodies, so, too, do economics and class.

I knew I could count on a plus-sized white comedian to take down a genre of films that prioritized thin women. But I ventured to see if Wilson could go further than that, and challenge what it means to be white and well-off and fat in the process; it isn't just about taking down rom-coms but about doing so in a way that isn't just a mouthpiece for white feminist values. But, in the end, that isn't what happened. Isn't It Romantic is fine, but it needed to do more than target an audience of girls who are 10 to 30 pounds overweight and still too jolted by the word "fat" to ever apply it to themselves, so they go for acceptable alternatives, like curvy, plus-sized—or thicc, if they're hip. But I'm not afraid to say I'm fat, I'm just disappointed I will be waiting even longer to see a realistic reflection of that experience onscreen.

Isn't It Romantic is in theaters now.