More fun in neon

The latest controversy swarming the internet and jamming the news involves J. Crew, the generally more conservative clothing company, and its most recent advertisement.

The latest controversy swarming the internet and jamming the news involves J. Crew, the generally more conservative clothing company, and its most recent advertisement. The ad shows a mother painting her son’s toenails…pink.

Designer Jenna Lyons is shown in the ad painting her five-year-old son Beckett’s toenails a hot pink color. The caption reads, “Lucky for me I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.”

A boy with pink toenails? This could be considered outside of normalcy in today’s society, so let the complaints begin. Complaints that the ad is “awful” quickly began circling the internet shortly after it ran.

A recent opinion piece for Fox News written by Dr. Keith Ablow states that Lyons should “put some money aside for psychotherapy for the kid.” Others have called it blatant transgendered children propaganda. To insinuate that this little boy is going to become gay, transgender or even need psychotherapy is plainly insulting and ignorant.

In today’s society, we start putting kids in gender boxes the second the sex of the child is determined. People buy pink things for girls and blue things for boys. If a child differs from that gender stereotype when they are older, it is seen as wrong. However, it is generally more wrong for boys to dress as girls than girls dress as boys. This controversy would lack luster if it was a picture of a girl playing with toy cars.

For some reason we are more fearful of a little boy with pink toenails than a little girl playing with a dump truck. If you see a picture of a little boy wearing a dress, people would freak out, claiming he is going to be gay. If the opposite is seen and a little girl is wearing stereotypical boys’ clothes (baggy pants, big t-shirt, baseball cap, etc.) then people wouldn’t give it a second thought.

Although society has come a long way since the days when homosexuality was diagnosed as a mental disorder—around 40 years ago—there is still a lot of work to be done.

Our society has an insane paranoia of homosexuality. If a little boy paints his toenails pink, that does not mean he is going to become gay. People do not just become gay, they are born gay. Changing the color of a boy’s toenails is not going to change his sexuality.

Homosexuality is still viewed with negative connotations, which is why we are still fighting for equal marriage rights for everyone. The phrase “That is so gay” is unfortunately and commonly used as lingo to describe something bad.

Ablow’s article mentioned that encouraging kids to choose their gender identity instead of sticking with the one that they are assigned at birth is going to send our society into psychological turmoil. Most women’s studies and psychology courses will mention that at birth we are assigned a sex—this is what is between our legs—and gender or gender identity is something that we choose: this is what is between our ears.

Abiding by those statements and not by Ablow’s won’t send society into psychological turmoil—if anything people are going to be happier if they identify with who they truly are.

This little boy is lucky to have a mother who will encourage him to step out of the gender binary. Society needs to become more educated, the fact that so much controversy was stirred up because one little boy with pink toenails showed up in a catalog is obscene. An educated society does not freak out over such minor things. ?