I had an impossible time finding a plain pink shirt for my son when he was two. I wound up buying him a tie-dye with a big pink heart in the center instead. He wore it all the time. It suited him. He’s also had whatever length of hair he likes his whole life, usually preferring it long. He was accidentally called a girl by strangers regularly and he was able to shrug it off ninety percent of the time, because neither his dad or I treated him as though liking so-called “girl” looks or toys or colors was weird or problematic. If anyone thought his masculinity was being damaged, they didn’t say it to my face.
So I don’t understand why the J. Crew catalog ad with the company’s creative director Jenna Lyons and her pink-toenailed boy caused any kind of stir. The idea that boys doing “girl” things could cause “gender confusion” seems inextricably tied to a horde of old-school chauvinist ideas that don’t help anyone of either gender.
And the idea that the boy will be bullied because of this picture? Only possibly by children of the kind of parents that consider such things damaging or outrageous. If you ask me, instilling those kinds of limitations on everyone’s boy- and girl-ness or, even worse, antagonizing the choices of lovely, curious children on the basis of such limited perceptions is far more damaging than all the pink toenail polish in the world.
P.S. I loved Jon Stewart’s “Toemaggedon” coverage.