J. Crew and its subdued preppy togs aren't exactly controversial, but a recent online ad campaign has created quite an uproar. It features the company's creative director, Jenna Lyons, painting her young son Beckett's toenails a bright pink. A caption reads: "Quality time, 'Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.'" Conservative commentators have taken issue with the ad's perceived gender-bending, calling it "blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children." Incendiary or just innocent fun?
It's certainly not innocent: This is a "dramatic example" of the way our culture is allowing children to choose which gender they identify with, says Dr. Keith Ablow at Fox News, something that "can throw our species into real real psychological turmoil — not to mention crowding operating rooms with procedures to grotesquely amputate body parts." J. Crew seems to "respect their own creative notions a whole lot more than any creative Force in the universe," but, by doing so, they're exacting "psychological penalty" on a young boy.
"J. Crew plants the seeds for gender identity"
Beware partisan over-reactions to this ad: This is nothing more than a "sweet image of a mom and son hanging out, subtly advertising a few wares (the polish and a pullover shirt)," says Amelia McDonell-Parry at The Frisky. This isn't "propaganda celebrating transgendered children." It looks to me like this little boy is still a little boy; he just happens to like pink toenail polish. As much as conservative commentators "want to manufacture a controversy," such attempts are truly unfounded.
"J. Crew ad called 'blatant propaganda celebrating transgender children'"
And all the fuss is troubling, not the ad itself: I don't think anyone was trying to make a political statement here, but if they were "indeed, purposefully abandoning the trappings of gender identity, more power to them," says Meredith Carroll at Babble. This is likely just a "cute" thing a little boy did, and whether he grows up to be gay, straight, or transgendered, his life should be celebrated. I'm "genuinely shocked" that this is such a big deal for some.
"Is J. Crew pushing the gender envelope by showing a boy with toenails painted pink?