To some people (like me), it seems innocent — and even cute — enough: a photo of a mom and her young son laughing adorably as she paints his toenails hot pink.
The image appeared as part of a J. Crew ad campaign that was emailed last week to customers. The featured mom is J. Crew’s president and creative director, Jenna Lyons, the boy is her son, Beckett, and the shade of pink is called Essie. The point of the ad was to highlight a few of Lyons’ favorite products.
The picture’s caption reads, “Lucky for me I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.”
To me — yes. But not to everyone, apparently. Particularly if you’re connected to the Fox News family, apparently.
“This is a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity,” psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow wrote about the ad in a FoxNews.com Health column.
And a woman from the Media Research Center agrees, calling the ad, “blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children.”
The Media Research Center woman further argues that Beckett is being exploited as “the façade of liberal, transgendered identity politics,” and that Jenna’s indulgence in allowing Beckett to paint his toenails could “make life hard for [him] in the future.”
It’s hard to know where to start. Is there anyone besides me who is genuinely shocked — shocked — when you realize that we’re not more evolved as a society that the sight of a boy of any age with painted toenails is made into a big deal by anyone? Whether Beckett is secure in his boyhood or if he has one too many female hormones, why shouldn’t his choice to paint his toes be as celebrated as much as it would be if he were a she?
What, exactly, is going to be hard for him later in life by this expression of cheerfulness with his mom? If it turns out he’s gay or transgendered or heterosexual, isn’t is fabulous to know in any possible scenario that he’s supported not only by his mom, but by a major corporation that celebrates what makes people happy, no matter their sexual or gender orientation? And why would anyone possibly think that painted toenails on a little boy are really a front for “transgendered identity politics?” I mean, how much free time do these people have on their hands?
P.S. – If Lyons and Beckett are, indeed, purposefully abandoning the trappings of gender identity, more power to them. What’s wrong with that, anyway? And if it turns out that Beckett is transgendered, give me a single reason why he shouldn’t be celebrated. Just one.
Do you think there’s something wrong with a mom letting her son paint his toenails pink — or any other color — in public or private?