Did you know that if you paint your pink-loving son’s toenails, it may lead to the downfall of civilization? Those are the dots that Dr. Keith Ablow is trying desperately to connect on FoxNews.com. Yes, the same Dr. Keith Ablow who recently co-authored a book with Glenn Beck.
So here’s what happened: In the April 2011 online J. Crew catalogue there is a fun picture of J.Crew’s creative director, Jenna Lyons, with her son Beckett (shown here, left). In the picture she has clearly just painted the boy’s toenails pink. He seems pretty happy about it. But Dr. Ablow sees this as the beginning of the end.
Gender identity is a tricky thing. When I became a mom I tried very hard not to influence my kids with gender stereotypes. I didn’t assume that Jake wanted to play sports or that my daughter would want to wear pink all the time (both of which, actually, turned out to be true). But Jake is all boy. He loves Hot Wheels and baseball and hockey and playing drums and violent video games.
Then along came Fiona, and I swear there were pink sparkles mixed in with the amniotic fluid. She loves doing hair and make-up, pretty dresses, and jewelry. I ended up with kids who fell right into the usual gender stereotypes.
Did I occasionally try to push them the other way? Sort of but not really. When Jake was a toddler he kept stealing a little girl’s doll stroller at the playground. I ran right out and bought him his own. Upon hearing the news my husband sighed and said “It’s not pink, is it?” (It was blue.) When he asked Santa for an Easy Bake Oven, I made sure Santa delivered.
Or there was the time when I mistakenly signed Jake up for a ballet class (the semester before it had been hip hop). I made him stick with it, because I really thought he might like it. He’s tall and strong, and I tried to make him understand how tough and manly a male dancer has to be to lift the women into the air and fling them around. But he wasn’t buying it. He hated the class, and my husband was really annoyed with me. I wasn’t trying to change him, I just wanted him to know that there were lots of choices out there, and that I’d be OK with any of them. But he probably burped and scratched himself in response. Seriously. He’s a guy. He totally owns that part of the stereotype.
But what about the other kids? The girls who want the action figures, the boys who want the ponies? I know many of those kids. According to Dr. Keith Ablow, that kind of behavior may lead to promiscuousness and…something about black kids wanting to be white and vice versa? I don’t know, I was having trouble following his convoluted logic.
Or maybe it wasn’t the kids’ tendencies he was criticizing, but the parents’ encouragement? Is that what he was trying to say: that if my children like to do things that aren’t “normal” and I don’t make them feel like shit for it, I’m to blame for them…not wanting to go into the army? (Seriously, read the article, his points are completely crazy.)
I don’t doubt for a second that J.Crew knew exactly what it was doing when it produced that picture. Hell, they sell the nail polish! But I applaud them for celebrating a child’s uniqueness, even if it is just another way to get attention and sell something. I’d rather see more ads with boys in pink nail polish than another big-breasted blond in a bikini.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information. Amy also blogs at Filming In Brooklyn, Behind the Screen, and Momtourage, and podcasts with The Blogging Angels.