During the March new arrivals rollout (refer to the "J.Crew Updates Website with New Arrivals!" post), there was a "Saturday with Jenna" feature. It included Jenna painting her son's toe nails. Well, that tiny bit got picked up by the media, and how! The following article is from FoxNews (click here for its entirety):
The following are additional articles covering this story:By Diane MacedoJ.Crew Ad Showing Boy With Pink Nail Polish Sparks Debate on Gender Identity
April 11, 2011
A J.Crew ad that shows a top designer painting her young son’s toenails neon pink has some parents and doctors seeing red.
The image appeared in a feature called "Saturday With Jenna," which was emailed to customers last week and highlights a few of J.Crew president and creative director Jenna Lyons’ favorite products -- including the hot pink Essie nail polish seen on her son, Beckett.
The caption below the picture reads, “Lucky for me I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.”
But not everyone sees fun in the ad. “This is a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity,” psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow wrote in a FoxNews.com Health column about the ad.
Media Research Center’s Erin Brown agreed, calling the ad “blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children.” “Not only is Beckett likely to change his favorite color as early as tomorrow, Jenna's indulgence (or encouragement) could make life hard for the boy in the future,” Brown wrote in an opinion piece Friday. "J.CREW, known for its tasteful and modest clothing, apparently does not mind exploiting Beckett behind the facade of liberal, transgendered identity politics.”
But Jo B. Paoletti, author of “Pink and Blue: Telling the Girls From the Boys in America” told FoxNews.com she believes critics are overreacting. “Lots of kids, say 7 and under, might ask their parents for something that would seem to be cross gender, and I think most parents, especially in the privacy of their own home might think, what’s the big deal?" Paoletti said.
J.Crew spokeswoman Margot Fooshee said the company had no comment on the ad. Jenna Lyons did not respond to direct requests for comment.
When asked if the ad crossed the line, a majority of Fox News Twitter users backed Paoletti. “What line would that be? Not forcing your child to like a color just because gender stereotypes say they should?” one commenter known as along_the_path wrote.
But not everyone agreed. “Why would I want my son to paint his toenails pink?” ohthatmomma wrote. “Why woukd [sic] I want my son to paint his toenails at all?”
- Atlanta Journal Constitution: "Is J. Crew confusing kids about their gender identity?"
- Babble: "Is J. Crew Pushing the Gender Envelope By Showing a Boy With Toenails Painted Pink?"
- Feminste: "One more reason to shop at J.Crew"
- Syracuse: "J. Crew faces criticism for ad featuring boy with pink toenail polish"
- Salon: "J.Crew ad may be transgender baby propaganda, warns Fox"
- Huffington Post: "Fox News Goes After J.Crew's Jenna Lyons For Painting Son's Toenails Pink"
- The Frisky: "J.Crew Ad Called “Blatant Propaganda Celebrating Transgender Children"
- ABC News: "J. Crew Ad With Boy's Pink Toenails Creates Stir"
- Yahoo! News: "Hot pink-toenailed boy in J. Crew ad sparks controversy"
- Los Angeles Times: "J. Crew and Jenna Lyons' pink toenail controversy"
- Chicago Tribune: "Pundits seeing red over boy's pink toenails"
- Jon Stewart's Daily Show: "Toemageddon 2011: This Little Piggy Went to Hell"
When I was toddler, I would only wear dresses. Just dresses. When I was around 4-5, I only wore pants and favored playing with G.I. Joe and Star Wars figurines (I worshiped my older brother then). When I was around 6, I only wanted Barbie Dolls. My point: kids are kids. Preferences change all the time. So why fret? :)
What are your thoughts on this news story? Did you think it would get as much coverage as it did?
UPDATE: The conversations in the post were taking a turn for the worst. Unfortunately I don't have the time to monitor it properly. For those of you who tried to keep it civil- thank you! Even though we disagree, we can do so without be disagreeable. Our community is great because we help each other out, not call each other out.
Everybody has their own quirks. I too played with He Man figurines and my brother had a Teddy Bear. J.crew has propped up Jenna so much that unfortunately everything she says and does will be discussed, whether we agree or disagree. Comes with the territory.ReplyDelete
I have no idea why this is a story but unfortunately when you put pictures/ads out there you invite all kinds of scrutiny.ReplyDelete
Yes, I agree let kids be kids. I would have no problem painting my sons toenails pink if he asked me too. However, the key here in the article-- in the privacy of our own house and of course I would not mind him being seen in public--just not spread out in an ad for the world to see unless he was old enough to tell me he would not mind.ReplyDelete
All parents have different parenting styles. This is just mine. Jena has hers. I am not surprised by the controversy. I mean Jena had to expect a little press coverage--didn't she? She got it.
I agree with Genny and MaryMoo: even though I have no issue with little boys having their toe nails painted, the fact that this is what they chose to put in the ad makes me think that they knew it would spark a story. I'm sure there are many, many less controversial things that the family does together that would have made a cute ad.ReplyDelete
I guess there's nothing else doing in North America, in Africa, in Asia...ReplyDelete
This is incredibly stupid. Both his parents are creative types. They are going to do things differently from "normal" folk... Not that nail polish on a boy is some crazy wacko happening.ReplyDelete
Who cares if he paints enjoys painting his toenails pink or any other color. Remember when Carson Daly had painted fingernails on TRL (ha)? Did that irrevocably corrupt anyone's youth? Probably not. :P
Jenna knew some people would raise their eyebrows. Like she cares.
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I have to admit, when I first read the original article on the J. Crew website, it surprised me a little. Jenna painting her son's toes? It seemed a little fishy to me.ReplyDelete
I think this ad was more for the shock value than anything else. J. Crew wanted to see how far they could push the envelope. Gender issues and gender roles have always been a topic of debate. They change and adapt throughout time.
Would I care if my son painted his toenails? Probably not but I would be concerned he started questioning his gender identity. That is the real route of the issue. By painting his toes, is Jenna setting her son up for a personal crisis? It seems like a lapse of judgement both on her part personally and on the company for running the ad.
I will still buy their clothes but it has definitely marred J. Crew's image in my mind.
I am normally attuned to any odd agenda pushing, but I think this is much ado about nothing. I have boys, and didn't think anything about this. In fact, I used to paint my oldest son's toenails and now he is an Army Ranger. Doesn't get much manlier than that - lol.ReplyDelete
It's too coincidental the boy's favorite color is a trendy color like neon pink. I think she knew it would set off some stories, plus it was cuter to get that pop of pink in on Beckett than on Jenna's toes. At that age, little boys are not going to sit still for long waiting for a mani or pedi so I doubt it's the norm for him.ReplyDelete
One reason not to let your little boy play w/nail polish: an ex-bf's mom told me she let him play w/her nail polish & he painted his entire pee-pee red!
The whole "liberal, transgendered identity politics" thing is exactly the type of pearl clutching and not-so-thinly veiled homophobia I've come to expect from FN.ReplyDelete
I had the same reaction as some other JCAs - seems staged. Every bit of publicity is edited and parsed and packaged to make a statement and tell a story. Teeny94 nailed it: I'm sure there are many things the family does that are "normal" and don't involve "it" nail polish colors - oh, wait I can buy that polish on JCrew.com?ReplyDelete
Whatever. I can't believe I am commenting on Jenna painting her son's nails. Who cares??
I'll add that I do think parents should be discerning about what they publish (in whatever sphere, even if just relating a story amongst friends) about their kids. What seems adorable today might prove embarrassing for the kid later...ReplyDelete
who cares! My husband only had the neighborhood girls at his 5 yr. old birthday party and my sisters and I constantly dressed my brother up and he played GI Joe with our Barbies. Bottom line...they turned out 'fine' but even if they were gay we would love them just the same.ReplyDelete
My bigger question is what is the name of that Essie polish?!?! I have to have it!!!!
Yes I agree this says more about FoxNews than anything. Slow news day? It wasn't but here we have a mountain out of a molehill.ReplyDelete
I know lots of little boys who paint their nails, non-issue I say.
What surprised me most about the original feature on the JC website was that Jenna would agree to have her son photographed. It's such a close-up too. To each his own but I wouldn't have let my children's privacy be compromised that way.
Let's consider 2 things:ReplyDelete
1) JCrew created the copy and image for advertisement of something
2) It's FOX news people!
and the 2 above points do not go well together.
I was another one who thought the photo and caption was a bit "staged".ReplyDelete
But seriously, if all it takes is putting nail polish on a little boy to make him question his gender identity, what does that say about us as a society??
No one blinks an eye when little girls play with toy trucks or wear overalls. I seem to recall fashion spreads featuring androgynous models, and JC itself "borrows from the boys" endlessly. Is no one afraid these poor little girls will question their gender identity? Horrors!
So incredibly lame.
The so-called Media Research Center (probably that woman's basement) and FOX "News" are the most whacked-out bunch of nutcases I've ever seen. I wish the Republican party hadn't allowed themselves to be taken over by these extremists.ReplyDelete
If MRC and FOX had been around 50 years ago they would have been decrying girls wearing pants. Yes, some of you don't know this but many schools back in the day didn't allow girls to wear pants to school.
The best thing for J Crew to do is totally ignore this non-issue and not even validate it with a response. I'm sure 99.9999999% of the J Crew shoppers couldn't give a sh*t......
Obviously we are to busy caring about this little boys playful side to do anything about all the other news going on in the world.ReplyDelete
I had an astronaut Barbie and I never wanted kids. Think there's a connection there? :) I'm sure there would be to the paranoid Nazis at FOX News and Erin Brown's basement (a.k.a. Media Research Center).ReplyDelete
Jenna's little boy is adorable. And I can't believe Fox News has nothing better to do with their time than pick on a cute little kid.ReplyDelete
Right wing extremist Republicans carrying on about how Jenna + son + pink nailpolish are ruining America's family values. Absolutely absurd. This is nothing more than politically motivated BS.ReplyDelete
I have no comment because I see nothing to comment on. ;)ReplyDelete
Two words say it all. It's "FOX NEWS".ReplyDelete
Sensationalist "journalism" at it's best...or worse.
@Clicquot -- I agree completely!ReplyDelete
To "borrow from the boys" seems to be a huge trend right now, and J Crew's use of that slogan provoked no controversy. So what's wrong with a little 5-year-old goofing around on Saturday and borrowing from the girls?
I am loving these comments. :DReplyDelete
Tamara, I had Astronaut Barbie, too! And played baseball! Hung out in my dad's workshop with sawdust and power tools! Quelle Horreur!
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I'm more bothered that she's pimping out her kid's image for commercial purposes. I know this is supposed to be a cute glimpse into Jenna's fabulous yet charming and down-to-earth lifestyle, but I wish she'd leave her kid out of it. I'm glad he gets to choose whether and what color to paint his toenails, but he probably didn't have a choice about whether to appear in the ad.ReplyDelete
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The emasculation of young boys is a problem in our society. It not only confuses their sexual identity but changes their perspective of woman. The image that this advertisement portrays may be more insidious than its original intent. By the way, is this boys name "Sue"?ReplyDelete
I'm so with tasty moog on this. Beckett is great in that picture as all kids that age are. I think it's no different than some construction paper project. Only Fox News would start something like this.ReplyDelete
Images like this advertisement support the continued emasculation of boys in our society, and as a result they are confused about their sexual identity. I think this image may be more insidious than its original intent. Woman who want a man in the future should take a hard look at what our more enlightened parents are doing and how they are behaving with their young children. By the way, is this boys name "Sue"?ReplyDelete
Oh Jackell, "The emasculation of boys" is the repetitive shriek of misogynists. You must be one of them. It's all women's fault, right? We vote, we work, we expect to be equal partners in our relationships. We've clearly ruined society.ReplyDelete
So what about the men? Are men so weak that they're allowing women to take over? Think about it, caveman.
I agree with tasty moog, DaniBP, pathos, and Tamara...as soon as it was mentioned that their "expert" from FoxNews, the issue lost all credbility to me.ReplyDelete
I thought this was a great article in jezebel. com and it makes sense: Girls Are Pink Boys Are Blue: On Toddlers and Gender Roles
Incidentally, my son, who is 7, asks me to do "fashion errands" with him. This involves him getting his nails painted (he opts for clear, but has done color in the past) and putting on dad's cologne. He also is testing for his green belt in king fu sword this week, so I think there's plenty of "balance" between masculine and feminine in his life :)
My 5 year old boy cousin loves to have his nails painted, in fact last time I saw him I gave him a sparkly manicure and he loved every minute of it. His favorite color is also pink, he plays with dolls. He also likes to play monster trucks and go fishing with his dad... I think he's going to be just fine even though he had his nails painted and likes pink.ReplyDelete
To connect the nail painting with emasculation is like jumping over the Grand Canyon. I'd say Fox News is twisting this to create controversy. Complete non-issue from my point of view.ReplyDelete
Once again, Fox News proves it's the most UN-credible news source on the planet. Are you kidding me? J. Crew's "agenda"? What about their agenda of hate?ReplyDelete
Leave the Republican Party and politics out of this. They had nothing to do with this story. Period.ReplyDelete
Now, that said, I saw the story and thought it was much to do over nothing. People have been shreiking about gender confusion since the 60s and 70s, and it hasn't happened yet. Only a small number of people would have even noticed her painting her son's nails, but now, many do, so yeah, maybe it was staged. Personally, I think the Japan nuclear crisis is just a bit more important.
Clearly FOX, Erin Brown's Basement, Jackell, and the others who hate women have discovered our ***master plan*** to feminize all men! And we're going to have clone babies, thus eliminating the need for men altogether!! (insert evil laugh here)ReplyDelete
IDIOTIC! although NOT surprising coming from Fox. Can't they find something better to "report"? hmmm... Libya maybe??ReplyDelete
I don't know if anyone noticed, but all the favorable comments are by women. Ask your husbands what they think. You may be surprised that this stupid gesture would not be acceptable to the father. Again, you all seem very enlightened in your misguided opinions. As a former boy and now man I think I can speak with more authority concerning the impact of parental influence concerning such issues. I wish the boy Sue all the best and hope he is a good Boy George in the future.ReplyDelete
Why even pay attention to drivel from Fox News? I'm actually disappointed that Alexis linked to and reprinted the article. But I guess she likes controvery as well.ReplyDelete
Actually himmiefan, Republicans have a lot to do with it.ReplyDelete
Politics have nothing to do with this story? Then why is the phrase "liberal, transgendered identity politics" in it?
Stephanie, did you notice the link to the Atlanta Journal- Constitution? They are one of the largest and most important newspapers in the US.ReplyDelete
I think the toenail painting to me isn't the issue. Sure it's okay to paint your child's toenails any color they want if you want...privately. I feel like Jenna may have put her son in an ad that could embarrass him in the future, just like I hated it when my mom tried to show boyfriends pictures of me in the bathtub as a baby with my booty showing. I wanted to DIE!! Thank goodness there wasn't anything like Facebook back then!!ReplyDelete
Tamara - I did see that and that link also reprints comments from FoxNews.com. My point is that it's just more hits and publicity for Fox News. I don't think they need anymore.ReplyDelete
I think the whole issue is a non-issue and don't see the need to have it discussed in the first place.
All the favorable comments are by women? I forgot, we're not supposed to have an opinion. Only our male counterpart opinions matter, right? (My man, by the way-- being he is equipped with Man Parts and is The Primary Provider and thus More Important-- finds this nail painting matter to be a total non-issue.)
Jackell, let me put this very plainly to you. You speak with NO authority. You're just another woman-hater, like so many others. My guess is that you think you're awesome but women are put off by you, and instead of fixing yourself you put the blame on women. You remind me of George Sodini. Very scary. I hope you don't have weapons in your home.ReplyDelete
Stephanie: As for why I have a post about this, because it is news about J.Crew and last time I checked this blog was all about J.Crew. I also included links to *other* articles (which seem to all stem from the Fox one).ReplyDelete
I also mentioned my point of view on this story in the post where I don't get all the fuss either!
Honestly, thank you for calling me out. Much appreciated.
jackell, I did ask my husband. I showed him the picture. He chuckled and said it looks like the kid is playing, having fun, big deal.ReplyDelete
Jackell - as someone who has painted a little boys finger nails I will tell you I did this is front of my fiance, my father, my grandfather, the little boys father, my uncle, my 2 brothers, and my male cousins at a family gathering and NOT A SINGLE one of them had an issue with it or told me to stop or made some mention of me scarring him for life! So I don't agree with your statement that all of our husbands would have a different opinion on this.ReplyDelete
And clearly Jenna's husband doesn't have a problem with it either!
Alexis, just want you to know that I appreciate this post, and I appreciate that you're allowing us to all voice our opinions.ReplyDelete
Alexis - you are so welcome! Anything I can do. GFY.ReplyDelete
tamara, I do have weapons by the way. You must be very confused about your gender identity to think I hate woman. I absolutely love woman. Put on some makeup and go to a bar. Your not a Tranny are you? This is my last post. I am too busy to post my opinions. I will however be speaking with my wallet in the future. No more J Crew purchases.ReplyDelete
Guys, what I'm saying is for us to please leave politics out of this. This is a great place for us to gather, so let's not muck it up. We all have different political beliefs, and that's okay. We're all about the Crew here.ReplyDelete
"Put on some makeup and go to a bar"? This is what you think women should do?ReplyDelete
I do believe you're on the verge of becoming the next George Sodini. Your hatred of women is palpable. Seek help.
Jackell, I'd recommend that you listen to "A Boy Named Sue" again because you've clearly missed the point of the song. Also, repeating the same joke three times doesn't make it any funnier.ReplyDelete
It's probably a good thing you won't be reading this blog or shopping at J. Crew anymore. It's obviously all part of a vast conspiracy to feminize American men and boys. I don't know what you're worried about though, you seem so secure with your identity...
Tamara: Thank you! :)ReplyDelete
Stephanie: I am going to assume "GFY" means "Good for you". ;)
As for this topic... it definitely has sparked its own debate here! There have been a lot of interesting points made- in particular whether or not Jenna should include her child in J.Crew's advertising. I never thought of it that way.
I also found interesting that the Fox news article included the following: "When asked if the ad crossed the line, a majority of Fox News Twitter users backed Paoletti." (Paoletti is the one who believes critics are overreacting.)
As for politics, let's be careful about generalizing groups of people. I know its difficult since the article uses politically charged terms. :)
In defense of Fox News, (since I'm probably the only person who will openly admit to liking and watching Fox News, omg & Glenn Beck's my fav! :P), last night Hannity briefly showed this Jenna nail painting headline & photo, all his guests laughed & had no comments, and they quickly moved on to the next topic. Lasted for 20 seconds tops!ReplyDelete
Thanks for the post Alexis! Most of us understand your reason for posting it.
himmiefan - If politics are to be left out of it, then a simple piece of ORIGINAL content from Alexis (along the lines of: "Hey! J.Crew has attracted some controversy over Jenna Lyons and her kid, and painting her son's toenails pink. What do you all think?") that didn't mention politics and didn't like to a bunch of politically-motivated quotes would have served that purpose.ReplyDelete
If you want to get all up in arms about politics, then blame the "author" of this post (whomever you consider that to be).
himmiefan, it's Alexis' responsibility to control the blog. If you aren't interested in the thread, just don't participate.ReplyDelete
I find this a fascinating and frightening topic. It's frightening because there's a rather substantial number of men out there (a minority, thankfully, but not insignificant) who are flat-out misogynists. They blame women for all of the things they consider wrong with our society.... except they conveniently overlook things like rape, molestation, and murder, the vast majority of which are committed by men.
One contingent of the misogynists is the PUA (so called "pick up artist") crowd, which came to light after George Sodini committed his final deadly act of frustration. If you have time, I highly recommend that you visit at least one PUA forum. You will be horrified, but the education will be good for you. If you have children, especially daughters, please make them aware of these men.
I will say one last thing before I log off: any man who is confident would not be upset by a woman painting the toenails of her small son.
I'm not getting all up in arms (or calling people names). I'm just asking everyone to be nice. Seems reasonable to me - and absolutely, this is Alexis's blog to monitor.ReplyDelete
I have a 2 1/2 year old son and his favorite color is purple. I have to say though, that sometimes I am relieved when I think it isn't pink. This is mainly due to the way color preferences get strongly related to gender identity in our society. We would not send our sons packing in a pink dress, even if he demands it. The reverse, girls dressing is boys clothes, however, do not receive so much raised eyebrows, it's cross dressing.ReplyDelete
When it comes to young kids, liberalism (especially while straddling the fine line of gender identity) in individual preferences is good to a certain extent, but we also need to be mindful of the rebounding effects it could have on the developing psyche of our kids. Leaving them exposed and vulnerable to the judgmental society will have deleterious effects.
The ad seems staged for controversy, and Jenna's decision to make it public will always raise the question whether this is in the best interest of her son.