I didn’t think I could love Jenna Lyons, Creative Director for J. Crew, any more, but my respect for her has grown tenfold beyond just loving her work with the line. On the brand’s website, there’s a feature called “Saturday with Jenna,” featuring photographs of Lyons hanging out with her son Beckett (above). In one photo, she’s seen holding her son’s tiny feet, freshly pedicured with a hot pink Essie polish. The accompanying quote reads:
“Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.”
I particularly love that Lyons doesn’t directly call attention to either her son’s fave color choice or their bonding activity — pedicures! — as being “unusual” for a boy. From my perspective, she’s not trying to make some larger statement about gender — it’s just a sweet image of a mom and son hanging out, subtly advertising a few wares (the polish and a pullover shirt) available through J. Crew. But not everyone sees the advertorial as being so innocent.
In a FoxNews.com Health column, psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow wrote, “This is a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity.” And Media Research Center’s Erin Brown called the ad “blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children.” Seriously? “Dramatic”? “Blatant propaganda”? “Transgender children”? From what I can tell, Beckett is still a boy. A boy who happens to love the color pink and, given the grin on his face in the photo, also likes to have his toes painted. He must want to be a girl! He must be gay! Two fates that both of these critics clearly consider horrible, never mind the fact that they are absolutely ridiculous to infer.
Neither J. Crew nor Lyons offered a comment on the “controversy” surrounding the ad and I hope it stays that way. What stood out to me about the ad in the first place was the fact that Lyons didn’t make a dramatic issue of her son’s favorite color or the way they were spending their time. As much as Fox News, Ablow, and Brown may want to manufacture a controversy, there really isn’t — and shouldn’t be — one. [via Buzzfeed]