Virtual Voices

Little boys and pink toenails

Family

J. Crew's current online catalog features a photo of the company's president and creative director painting her 5-year-old son's toenails neon pink. Accompanying the photo is the heading "quality time" and a quote from Jenna Lyons: "Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon."

Is this just innocent fun and games, a picture of a shared happy moment between mother and son? I suppose you could take it that way. Or you could also read it as a statement. That's one psychiatrist's take on it.

Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and contributor to Fox News, writes, "This is a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity. . ."

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I'm sure J. Crew, like all retailers, thinks long and hard about what goes in its catalogs and on its website. In this case, the company decided its customers would like an image that says, in effect, "We're so hip. We love it when our little boys do girly things. What could be wrong with that?"

Actually, quite a lot, according to Dr. Ablow: "[H]ow about the fact that encouraging the choosing of gender identity, rather than suggesting our children become comfortable with the ones that they got at birth, can throw our species into real psychological turmoil."

And he makes another good point. Would J. Crew have published a photo of Jenna with her little boy dressed as a cowboy toting a toy six-shooter?

Doubtful. After all, masculinity is so un-hip. And guns? Don't even think about it.

Marcia Segelstein
Marcia Segelstein

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