The Politics of Glitter

  • 3 min read

A declaration of love and a mark of defiance, glitter has played a significant role in the strides towards equality. But how could something so small and as seemingly insignificant as glitter have an impact? 

In recent history, with the persistence of the divide within the American population, glitter has been used to disrupt politicians, create controversy in the Catholic church, and has contributed to the irreversible impact of plastics on our environment.

glitter bomb in politics


Glitter Bombing

Glitter bombing is a recent form of confrontational protesting toward conservative politicians who advocate for anti-LGBTQ+ policies. It began to pick up momentum in 2011 when  former Speaker of the House, conservative Newt Gingrich, was glitter bombed by activist Nick Espinosa.

Glitter bombing soon became a popular form of protest in the years following, as seen with targets like former presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and other elected officials

Although shiny-looking confetti can call to mind celebration and moments of levity, it served as a mark of disapproval from the LGBTQ+ community. When large amounts of hard-to-remove glitter were scattered, it was used to symbolize how the LGBTQ+ community cannot be pushed under the rug or further marginalized as they have been throughout history. 

Glitter bombing did create controversy, as some legal officials considered this assault. In addition, it was considered hazardous if the glitter got inhaled or fell on someone's cornea. 

mixing together glitter and ash


Glitter & Ash

It’s no secret that within the LGBTQ+community there has been a long history of scrutiny and terror from religious organizations. But in recent years, glitter has been used to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. 

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent when Christians observe the 40-day period Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness before he began his public ministry. It’s a time of repentance and reflection in the Christian faith andis followed by Good Friday and Easter. 

In 2017, Parity, a faith-based organization that supports the LGBTQ+, began mixing purple glitter and ash for Ash Wednesday, as a way to welcome and show support for the LGBTQ+ community. 

This small act of mixing glitter and ash came with controversy and division. Remember 2017? Donald Trump was just elected, and the tension was gaining acceleration. It may seem minor, but Ash Wednesday is a way Christians publicly display their faith, and adding glitter is a form of solidarity, and a way of visibly including members of the LGBTQ+. 

non-biodegradable glitter impacting the environment

Glitter Trash

It’s not all good news when it comes to glitter, though. Another way glitter has made headlines in recent years is due to its impact on the environment. Common glitter is typically made from aluminum and polyethylene terephthalate, also known as polyester. 

Not only can polyester take hundreds of years to decompose, but the size of glitter also makes it impossible to recycle at all. Glitter is considered a microplastic, meaning it’s too challenging for water filters to catch and is impossible to dispose of properly. It pollutes our large bodies of water and becomes consumed by marine life. 

Luckily, we make aBiodegradable Glitter that naturally decomposes. We make it with microcrystalline cellulose, which comes from refined wood pulp that breaks down with the environment. It can even break down naturally in water, making it ocean-friendly!

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Even something that many consider insignificant or immature can have an influence and inspire change. 

What do you use glitter for? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

Written by Julia Pincus, The Beauty Mark Writer

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