The World My Son Will Inherit: Pink Toes

Real Men Wear Pink

Real Men Wear Pink

J. Crew ad stirs up controversy with pink nail polish

When I heard the teaser for this on the Today Show this morning, my first thought was “OMG, this is NEWS?”  I mean, really, do we have nothing more important to discuss than some kid’s toes are painted pink?  How can this be important enough to warrant coverage?

I read the little blog linked above, then I read the comments.  Hold on to your lunch.

It’s not just the color that’s a concern, although it certainly doesn’t help.  (I better not let them into our kitchen, with the PINK Kitchen Aid appliances that Evan brought into the marriage.  He gets the most use out of the mixer when making his award-winning pie.) Playing with our sons when they want to mimic us is leading them down the path to gender confusion, epic destruction that will keep him from getting a job on Wall Street (gasp!), make him gay (horror!) or force him to be transgender (OH SH*T!).

I had no idea this was a problem.  Liam is obsessed with my pearls, barettes, and sunglasses.  I gave him one of my old purses so he could have his own bag and stop stealing mine.  In fact, this is such a common phenomenon that his daycare has a large selection of old purses for kids to cart around.  To be fair, he’s also obsessed with Dad’s hat, wallet, glasses, and shoes.  He’s a toddler.  He’s curious.  He mimics everything.  Which is great when he wants to brush his teeth with us, less great when he steals our phones.  It really, honestly, never occurred to me that his insistence on wearing my scarves was anything more than that.

I wrote a little about this on the From the Pews in the Back blog:

Anything associated with women and femininity is met with derision. The obsession with maintaining masculinity has even, tragically, led to a child’s death.

It seems to me (and maybe I’m just reading too much into it) that there’s still a deep, misogynistic undercurrent in our culture that sees anything we code as “feminine” as weak, bad, yucky, yet powerful enough to destroy a masculine identity.  Stories like this stir it up and bring it to the surface.  It shows how fragile and rigid masculinity is in our culture.  There’s no room for creativity and play.

No doubt, the photo in question was staged for the ad.  But I imagine the scenario that inspired it went something like this:

“Mom, whatareya doing?’

“Painting my toenails.”

“Willyoupaintmine?  Willyoupaintmine?  Willyoupaintmine? Pleeeeeeease??”

“HOLY BUCKETS KID.  Okay, come here.”

Kids like to dress up, pretend, be goofy and creative.  How many boys have played dress up or Barbie with their sisters and grew up to be straight macho men?  We dressed up my little bothers all the time (sorry boys), and while I can’t call them normal (ha, ha), they’ve turned out pretty good so far.

But, the gay!  What if the boy in this ad, or my kid, grows and turns out GAY?

Who cares?

If you have a problem with some kid growing up to be gay, the problem might be with you.


2 thoughts on “The World My Son Will Inherit: Pink Toes

  1. I would not only say “who cares?”, but I would also say that the idea that wearing pink nailpolish can turn a kid gay promotes the falsehood that being gay is something that can be taught.

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