Be afraid. Be very afraid. J. Crew is trying to turn your kids transgendered.
So here’s the deal. J. Crew recently put out an online ad called Saturday with Jenna, featuring Jenna Lyons, the company’s president and creative director. The innocent 4-page ad basically shows some of her favorite things about the weekend – weekend looks, how she relaxes, etc. The ad also features a picture of Jenna with her (beautiful) young son Beckett whose toes are painted neon pink. It’s a sweet picture that captures the love and silliness between a mother and child. Jenna says, “Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.”
Cue conservative outrage.
Erin R. Brown of the Culture and Media Institute, a non-profit that promotes “traditional” (i.e. conservative) values in media, has responded to the J. Crew ad, attacking the company for featuring “blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children.” I’m sorry, what? No, seriously. Is this a joke? Blatant propaganda? First of all, claiming that this ad is “transgender propaganda” (whatever that means…) is the strangest thing I’ve ever heard, and second, if our children actually are transgendered, we should be celebrating them. Because all children are innocent and beautiful and should be celebrated. They still teach that in church, don’t they? So if this child is in fact transgender then we should celebrate him. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this child isn’t transgender, isn’t concerned with his gender identity, and is just enjoying a carefree Saturday with Mom. But who am I to walk all over Republicans conspiracy theories?
Here is a response from Wayne Besen, founder of Truth Wins Out, a “non-profit organization that defends the GLBT community against anti-gay misinformation campaigns through media advocacy and university outreach.” He astutely points out the absurdity of the accusation that certain colors, clothing styles, and even certain “gendered” activities can make you gay/bisexual/transgendered/etc.
The spreading of hatred and bigotry in this country is truly frightening. What is happening here? While I’m all for searching for sociological meaning in popular culture, including clothing advertisements (anybody remember these ads for Bennetton?), I’m really disturbed and sick of conservative Americans trying to point out some liberal agenda in everything. I mean, this argument is simply ridiculous. Painting a boy’s toe nails is going to influence his gender/sexual identity? Does that mean that all male swimmers who shave their legs are also at risk of becoming transgendered or gay? Maybe the Republican party should lay into the Olympic Committee.
Come on. It’s 2011.
Here are links to a few more articles/blog posts on this “controversy.”
MSNBC Blog – Today Moms: J. Crew Ad Stirs Up Controversy With Pink Nail Polish
HuffPost Media: A New Low for Fox News
Edit: Check out Jon Stewart’s reaction on the Daily Show: