A Boy and His Pink Toenails

In a recent feature, J. Crew’s online catalogue portrays designer Jenna Lyons with her son Beckett. It’s a stunning shot of a mother and her very clearly adored child, a boy who happens to be sporting pink toenails. The accompanying quote by Ms. Lyons states: “Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.”

And lucky for her son Beckett he has a mother who loves him and spends quality time with him. However Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist, wrote an article for foxnews.com lambasting Lyons and accusing her of perpetuating something he calls “psychological sterilization.” He asserts that it’s a “dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity”

He goes on to say, “…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.”

Wow, all that from a bottle of pink nail polish? Dr. Albrow’s stance is appalling yes, but it’s also confusing and irresponsible. He takes the pure delight of a child and labels it as a path to becoming “transgendered.” Clearly I think we can guess his thoughts on being transgender, but the article is a rant about this particular little boy and his pink toenails. As a psychiatrist with a platform, Albrow’s attempt to make this connection is the height of misinformation and irresponsibility. No more does a child become a pirate if they play with plastic swords and walk an imaginary plank than does the personal choices of painting or not painting nails distinguish whether a child is straight, gay or transgender.

Erin Brown of the conservative Media Research Center took the criticism a step further and into just as asinine territory.

After being sure to remind readers that J. Crew is a fashion favorite of First Lady Michelle Obama, she goes on to accuse the company of exploiting young Beckett to advance the cause of “liberal, transgendered identity politics.” As if the First Lady wearing J. Crew and Beckett having pink toenails is a conspiracy to gender neutralize our society.

And I thought they were just selling polo shirts and preppy sweaters. The only cause of the LGBTQ community and “their politics” is fending off ridiculous accusations such as these and continuing their fight for equal rights and understanding in an unjust society that continually marginalizes and stigmatizes them. Cheers to Ms. Lyons for nurturing her son and allowing him every opportunity to be whoever he is going to be. Paint on Beckett.