Glitter: the discovery that has become a symbol of pride

Pride Month is about to end  , that is the month of June dedicated to the LGBTQ + community full of debates and events that culminates with gay pride . The protagonist of the parades – organized almost all over the world and an opportunity for fun, glitz and reflection – is certainly the glitter component , very easy to wear and with great significance. But where does this practice come from? Let’s discover the history of glitter , a symbol of pride with decidedly ancient roots, much older than you can imagine.

The ancient roots of glitter

To retrace the history of glitter , it is necessary to go back in time, even to the Paleolithic: the etymology of the word comes from the ancient Norse, glitra , whose meaning is almost identical to the modern one, sparkle. According to several studies, the first time that the word appeared in history dates back to the sixteenth century, although there are finds of mica, a type of mineral still used today to make the paint more brilliant, even in some caves dating back to 40,000 BC; it is also found that some important peoples such as the Maya used to paint their faces with mica on festive occasions or in other celebrations. A common practice also in various indigenous peoples, of which there are several examples in anthropology.

The modern glitter: everything is born by chance

The use of glitter as we understand it instead began in 1943 thanks to Henry Ruschmann, an American train driver from New Jersey. Like many of the ingenious inventions, it all came about by chance. In fact, legend has it that Ruschmann, inventor of a machine for cutting waste in a very small format, occasionally noticed some errors that led his device to “stammer”, thus behaving in fits and starts, generating small residues of cellulose that employees then used as decoration. From these “accidents along the way” the glitter was born , decorations that Ruschmann himself immediately took care to manufacture once he understood the aesthetic power, patenting a new machine in 1963.

Popstars clear glitter: Euphoria transforms it into a trend

In the last century, glitter had an almost outrageous meaning, as it was relegated in popular thought (with the exception of children of course) to those who worked exclusively in the world of sex. A type of approach then fortunately softened over time, until it was completely cleared through customs in the zero years, above all thanks to the advent of the great international pop stars such as Madonna, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and, lately, also Dua Lipa.

In the target of teenagers , the impact of “Euphoria”, a TV series of the teen drama genre that follows the events of Rue (Zendaya), a very young girl with drug addiction problems, and of the whole universe that gravitates around she and her friends struggling with the turmoil imposed by American society, between loves and excesses. A show – already become cult in a very short time – made famous also for make-up, characterized by glitter, undisputed protagonists of the looks, so much so that it quickly became first a trend, and then real fashion.

History of glitter: since when has it been a symbol of Pride?

Among the characterizing elements of the P ride , so of all queer themed evenings and events, there is therefore the glitter, also used by the famous drag queens and symbol of freedom, a real fil rouge that unites the whole world during the fashion shows and parades against all kinds of misogynist discrimination and homophobia. A very powerful weapon, stronger than others, which finds its particularity in its being in a certain sense also very annoying: it is no coincidence that the glitter sticks easily to the body with all its brilliance and at the same time it is difficult and very complicated to to remove.

Not everything glitters

Could a material with such a beautiful story and meaning have negative characteristics? Unfortunately, yes, but for purely environmental issues. Being essentially made of plastic, glitter takes a very long time to decompose: a thousand years according to the latest studies. Given its very small size it is considered a microplastic, for this reason most of the product is expelled into the water. A problem that suppliers are trying to remedy. Some prestigious companies, such as Meadowbrook Inventions, have already designed a biodegradable version, essential these days.

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