J. Crew Ad Enrages Some but Delights Blogger

By Kristen Magers

Although I typically write about reality television for this blog, I consider it to be a blog about popular culture. So, this week I’m taking a break from pop culture (sorry, Sister Wives, maybe next week) and I’m going to write about something that’s been making a lot of headlines in the past week. Now, what I am going to talk about is pretty shocking so if you have any small children or innocent animals around don’t read this out loud to them because it could really scare them. Okay, are you ready? Make sure you take a deep breath before you read this next sentence:

A mother painted her son’s toenails pink.  In my head or maybe out loud in real life I just heard the stereotypical high-pitched horror movie scream. Can you believe it? In the newest issue of a J. Crew catalog, a mother is seen with her young son and her son’s toenails are painted pink. This has caused all kinds of backlash ranging from concerned conservatives to nail polish health workers. But should anyone really be that scared?

The ad is adorable. No, really, it is. Look at it. Could it be any cuter? This isn’t really a staged photo and it isn’t a model pretending to paint a little boy model’s toenails. That’s a woman and her son. The quote is cute too. Right above the section reads “Quality Time” and then it says, “Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is more fun in neon.” Of course it’s more fun in neon! Going to Catholic schools my whole life, I could never paint my nails so when I finally could I went for really bright colors. And what’s brighter than pink? Not much!

Pink is just a color just like blue is also just a color and green is just a color. These associations of “boy” and “girl” that we have given the colors are not only idiotic but also outdated. This is 2011 and if a little boy wants his toenails or even his fingernails to be pink, then they should be pink! Let him have the freedom to express himself however he wants. He should be allowed that before society attacks him telling him that his self-expression is wrong.  I also want to praise his mother for being a forward thinker. For not being terrified that her son’s affinity for pink will ultimately lead to homosexuality or more effeminate son. I hope all parents will soon move in this non-gendered direction, to at least let their children like whatever color they want. I’ll leave you with this little bit of food for thought, while I know some of the controversy is over the mere painting of a boy’s toenails, some of the uproar is caused by the color. So, I ask you this- if a little girl’s toenails were painted bright blue, what would the reaction be? Time for me to go paint my nails!

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About Ohio U Women's Center

The Ohio University Women’s Center serves and responds to the needs of OU women students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the community. Founded in 2007, the center is dedicated to creating an inclusive and welcoming campus climate for all members of the community through programs, resources, referrals, advocacy, and education. Located in Baker University Center 403.
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