Over the weekend J.Crew updated their online catalogue and included a feature on how their president and creative director Jenna Lyons spends the weekend with her son. The first slide included the mother and son duo looking at each other playfully and lovingly while the mother held her sons foot- that happened to have neon pink toenails. Copy on the ad included “Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.”
Obviously this is just way too much for anyone to handle. The notion that mundane things such as colors can be characterized as male or female is absurd. If that were the case, how would anyone characterize beige, yellow, or red?
Keith Ablow called the ad, “a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity.” While Erin Brown from the Media Research Center called it, “blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children.”
Seriously? The boy in the picture is five years old. Children aren’t born knowing things are “bad” or “good,” or considered “straight” or “gay.” Children just know what they like. Often children want to participate in creative activities, such as painting- nails or otherwise, because they think it’s fun. Boys see their sisters and mothers painting their nails and they simply want to be included.
There seems to be an extremely confused train of thought happening that stipulates that the things you are exposed to as a child dictate one’s gender identity and sexual orientation. Shouldn’t children also have the right to express themselves in anyway they want? There have been many instances in which little boys want to do or wear something that is traditionally female and their mothers let them, often with backlash towards the mother. As long as no one is getting hurt, what is the harm in letting them do as they please?
“Many people feel that it is their role to police gender and tell them what correct behavior is for boys and girls,” said Dr. Jack Drescher, child psychologist, to ABC news. “The idea that a parent is indulging a child’s interest in unconventional gender behavior does something to the child has no scientific basis.”
Openly gay pop sensation Adam Lambert tweeted about the ad after a Twitter user tagged him in a post with a link to the article saying, “I bet that’s how it all started for @adamlambert.” Lambert addressed the issue by tweeting, “Gender confusion? I don’t think it’s that deep- children should have full freedom of expression. It’s everyone else who’s confused.”
J.Crew declined to comment calling this a “non-issue.” Which is exactly what it is. It’s simply a photo of a little boy spending a weekend with his hard working, stylish mom.
John Stewart said it best, “Here’s what I see: ‘Oh, honey, you want to paint your nails pink? Okay, let’s do it.’ Because do you have any idea how long a weekend is with children? Everybody gets bored; you’ll do anything to fill the time. And if you take them to a face-painting booth, it doesn’t make them cats.”
Originally published April 14, 2011.